Category Archives: NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!

Sleeping cops shouldn’t be shamed

“Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out.”

–Stephen Covey


By Alex P. Vidal

NEWARK, New Jersey — I agree that some cops in the Philippines caught sleeping while on duty be meted with disciplinary action, but I don’t agree that they should be berated like kids in front of a national TV.

Sleeping while on duty is indeed a serious offense amid threats from the communist rebels to attack police stations anywhere in the country.

It constitutes negligence and lack of discipline especially if those caught dozing off were not in proper uniform and in terrible shape physically.

They could be disarmed by bad elements and even killed while in dreamland.

They can’t also respond to calls for police assistance from victims of crimes at night time.

Sleeping precinct commanders should be sacked and replaced with those energetic and strong enough to withstand drowsiness on night shift.


I have misgivings though with some police officials who give their junior officers the dressing down in front of TV cameras.

Not all the sleeping beauties are useless or bad cops.

Sleeping is a human foible. Even Hercules and Don Juan fall asleep.

Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson had also been caught sleeping in cowboy and crime movies, but they always emerged as outstanding lawmen and ten feet taller than the bad guys they had killed.

Police officials can always conduct a surprise visit in various precincts even without the media coverage and fanfare.

They can always throw the books on erring subordinates without the need to insult and embarrass them in media.

While most of these police officials are motivated by call for duty, protocol and professionalism and their wrath seem to be valid, some of them have hidden agenda.

When they retire several months or years later, they don’t only become civilians, they become candidates in elections for a public office.

If they can shame subordinates for the sin of sleeping, they must, first and foremost, do the same to the rogue cops, the real bad eggs in uniform notoriously engaged in illegal drugs and illegal gambling.


When Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) committed crimes, some of them were sentenced to death in foreign courts even if their guilt wasn’t established beyond reasonable doubt.

In most cases, the Philippine government wasn’t able to save wrongly convicted OFWs from the death row.

Either news of the sentencing in court reached late in Malacanang, or there was lack of coordination and miscommunication among labor attaches and other concerned officials.

If the OFWs are the victims of crimes perpetrated by their employers, the chances that they can get support from Malacanang through our embassy are also sometimes nil.

Especially if embassy officials face a blank wall like in the case of 29-yar-old Joanna Demafiles of Sara, Iloilo whose body was found inside a freezer in a Kuwait apartment recently.

As of this writing, efforts by Lebanese authorities have been undertaken to capture the suspects, a couple and Demafiles’ former employers, who fled to Lebanon after abandoning the apartment in 2016.

Demafiles had been identified through her fingerprints, according to RP officials in Kuwait. Her family is demanding justice. They wanted her body back in Sara, Iloilo.



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Posted by on March 12, 2018 in CRIME, NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!


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Bizarre Dinagyang crime stories

“In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.”

–Hunter S. Thompson


By Alex P. Vidal

NEWARK, New Jersey –– After witnessing the cold-blooded murder of a plainclothes cop from Arevalo district during the  1990 Dinagyang Festival final night in Iloilo City in the Philippines, I became convinced that there should be a gun ban when the Ilonggos celebrate the feast of Señor Santo Niño every year.

The cop (I can remember him only as “Ben”) was gunned down while answering the call of nature on the rear tire of an owner type jeep where I was sitting and parked on corner Valeria and Ledesma Streets in the City Proper, a stone throw away from our News Express editorial office.

“Ben” died on the spot from multiple gunshot wounds fired by an unknown assailant at past seven o’clock in the evening.

I was holding my friend Emmanuel “Boyet” Carillo’s state-of-the-art camera (which was burned in a fire that gutted their house in Kalibo, Aklan weeks later), thus I was able to take some photos as “Ben” sprawled on the pavement bathing in his own blood.

The case has remained unsolved.

We also support the move of the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) and the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) to prohibit glass bottles and cans during the revelries.

Glass bottles and beer or soft drink cans can become deadly if used by drunken revelers as weapons.

Senior Inspector Shella Mae Sangrines, ICPO spokesperson, said in a recent press conference they did not want revelers to carry illegal weapons, drugs and other harmful contraband, thus they would inspect all backpacks.


The police may also check belt bags aside from backpacks.

Drug dealers and gang members carrying deadly weapons and illegal substances will eschew backpacks now that the police have announced what type of bag to be strictly perused during the festivities.

Some thugs who use backpacks are not really members of drug syndicates, terror groups and street-level fraternities engaged in riot.

Some of them are small time robbers or pickpockets.

One afternoon during the 1998 Dinagyang Festival, I “saved” a 17-year-old out-of-school teenager from being lynched by an angry mob near the Ledesma Street gate of Mary Mart Mall in Iloilo City.

“Randy” was being punched and kicked by male and female attackers while tightly embracing his backpack.

I intervened and was able to stop the carnage. When I checked the victim’s backpack, it contained several Nokia and Philips  analog cellular phones.

He was a “snatcher” cornered by some of his victims.

I negotiated with the maulers and helped them recover their cellular phones right away. I escorted the “snatcher” away from harm after he promised to go straight.

Since I was into sports, I encouraged him to train as amateur boxer in the YMCA gym. After a series of bouts in our weekly boxing tournament at the Iloilo City Freedom Grandstand, I introduced him to the late then City Administrator Angelo “Bebot” Geremias and brought him to Lapu-Lapu City in Cebu thereafter where he won a bronze medal in the inter-city youth slugfest.


Drunkenness should also be regulated if not avoided during the Dinagyang revelry.

In the 1994 Dinagyang, the grandson of a prominent Filipino-Chinese tycoon hogged headlines when he was “drugged and molested” by two gay hairdressers who befriended him at the Freedom Grandstand, the main judging area for ati dance competitions.

“Anthony”, who once worked with former Sen. Joselito “Lito” Lapid as stuntman in an action film shot in Cebu, alleged that he passed out and wasn’t able to go home after a drinking session with the two hairdressers while waiting for announcement of winners Sunday evening.

He woke up the following morning in the sidewalk of J.M. Basa Street without a shirt. His other personal belongings went missing. He confessed to police he suffered a “swollen penis” and was treated in the hospital.

When one of the hairdressers was stabbed dead by an unknown suspect in Brgy. Tanza-Baybay in the City Proper weeks later, “Anthony” disappeared in Iloilo City.

“Anthony’s” cousin, “Jaguar”, who owns a resort in Boracay in Caticlan, Aklan, got mad when police coaxed him to cooperate and pinpoint his cousin’s whereabouts.

I accompanied the cop who went to the cousin’s office, a lending firm, in downtown, City Proper. The cop managed to enter and talk to “Jaguar” briefly before being rebuked.

I was left outside “Jaguar’s” office after being denied entry by “Jaguar’s” secretary.

“Anthony” hasn’t been seen again.



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No knee-jerk reaction on Defensor’s transfer to PDP-Laban

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

–Franklin D. Roosevelt

By Alex P. Vidal

NEWARK, New Jersey –– When big names in Philippine local politics jump from one political party to another, it is normally greeted with derision and mockery from the deserters’ hitherto party mates and rivals.

They are tagged as “opportunists” and dismissed as “balimbings” (fruit with scientific name Averrhoa carambola) or turncoats.

Such was the misfortune that befell politicians in Iloilo City led by Rep. Jerry Trenas and Mayor Jose Espinosa III, who abandoned the Liberal Party (LP) for the administration’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) last year.

Political rivals took turns in lambasting “ingrate” Trenas , Espinosa and some of their ilk in the city council.

Their political enemies also utilized the social media to ridicule their move to leave LP and embrace President Rodrigo Duterte’s political party.

It’s always an earthshaking event for their detractors; the kind of opportunity to skin them alive in public their detractors would never allow to slip away. Politics 101.


Not in Iloilo province.

When Governor Arthur “Art” Defensor Sr. disclosed last year that he, his son, Iloilo third district Rep. Arthur “Toto” Defensor Jr. , and 4,000 other local officials from their district will take their oath as the newest members of the PDP-Laban on January 18, 2018, nobody from the governor’s political rivals–or potential political enemies–raised a whimper.

Team Defensor’s scheduled “mass oath taking” would be administered by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez at the Pototan Astrodome in Pototan town, 30 kilometers north from Iloilo City.

No admonition even from Iloilo fourth district Rep. Ferjenel “Dr. Ferj” G. Biron, Rep. Defensor’s rumored rival for governor in 2019.

Rep. Biron, who admits he has big respect and admiration for Gov. Defensor despite his loss in the 2013 gubernatorial race, probably didn’t want to sully the Defensors’ significant date with political history.

It would be awkward for the lawmaker from Dumangas to criticize the Defensors’ transfer from LP to PDP-Laban if he was eyeing LP’s official nomination for the top capitol post.


Some provincial board members and municipal mayors who have remained loyal to LP also didn’t find it necessary to rebuke the Defensors’ decision to transfer even for the sake of “check and balance” and, to some extent, publicity.

They probably got Gov. Defensor’s message loud and clear: he needed the President’s blessings for Toto Defensor’s candidacy in 2019.

From the very beginning, the governor never hid his cards and was even excited to immediately lay them on the table without beating around the bush: he wanted the congressman son to be the administration’s standard-bearer in 2019.

Defensor would have been chided both by allies and detractors as hypocrite if he did not admit his decision to walk away from LP to PDP-Laban had something to do with political survival.


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I didn’t execute a CHR affidavit on Capitol raid  

“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does it permanent.”

–Mahatma Gandhi

By Alex P. Vidal

NEWARK, New Jersey — I did not regret it when I “ignored” the request of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in the Philippines for me to execute an affidavit to narrate what I saw when fully armed assault cops raided the Iloilo Provincial Capitol to forcibly remove then Governor Niel D. Tupas Sr. and two other members of the provincial board on January 17, 2007.

I knew it would be useless to join the fray because the Philippine National Police (PNP) would anyway exonerate those involved; the PNP bigwigs were not stupid to pin down their underlings.

It was enough and necessary that I decided to instead chronicle the event in my newspaper articles weeks after the violence.

The cases against the cops have been dismissed; my articles will remain intact on-line and in printed newspaper files for future generation.

When historians remember that ugly episode, they will be horrified to know that despite “overwhelming” pieces of evidence, the case has been whitewashed.

Being in the right place at the right time, I knew I hit a jackpot as a community journalist nevertheless.


Then PNP chief Director General Oscar Calderon tasked Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief Director Edgardo Doromal to investigate the allegation of “overkill”.

As expected, Doromal cleared the Iloilo Regional Mobile Group (RMG) team despite video footage aired on national television showing the mostly rookie cops pointing guns at civilians and some reporters inside the Iloilo capitol.

Doromal’s report claimed it was Tupas’ supporters led by his son, then Iloilo Provincial Board Member and future Rep. Niel “Jun-Jun” Tupas Jr., who initiated the scuffle.

The Civil Disturbance Management (CDM) group only reacted accordingly to the situation, insisted the PNP report.

What I saw, which was also witnessed by others reporters and capitol workers caught in the melee was the opposite: the 65 assault cops smashed the glass doors in the back, forcibly entered the capitol like they were looking for Osama bin Laden.

Inside the 2,248 square feet, six-storey with 37 offices capitol , they didn’t know where to proceed; they pointed their guns at terrified civilians and reporters on their way to up to the next floors where they engaged Junjun Tupas and his sister, Tweety Balleza, in a loud scuffle.


Then Provincial Administrator Manuel Mejorada was in the front line outside the capitol negotiating with the leaders of other PNP teams to calm down and not to enter the capitol.

Visayan Tribune publisher Johnny Dignadice, then 72 years old, and I were among those nearly mistaken as Bin Laden’s cohorts.

We saw long firearms being aimed right before our eyes.

Family members, some lawyers, and staff members stayed with Gov. Tupas and his wife Myrna in the governor’s office.

The tumult simmered down when Junjun Tupas waved and presented the fax copy of a temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Court of Appeals.

The raiders failed to evict Tupas and Board Members Domingo Oso and Cecilia Capadosa.

The raiding cops were cleared even if Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, who ordered Tupas’ dismissal, admitted “there were very disturbing footage of the clearing operations.”

Among those who constantly communicated with the Tupas family and monitored the ruckus in Manila were future President Noynoy Aquino, and Senators Mar Roxas and Chiz Escudero.

These national political figures condemned the raid.




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Close down Boracay

“A true community is not just about being geographically close to someone or part of the same social web network. It’s about feeling connected and responsible for what happens. Humanity is our ultimate community, and everyone plays a crucial role.”

 — Yehuda Berg

By Alex P. Vidal

NEWARK, New Jersey –– Political will ba ang kailangan, Sec. Roy Cimatu?

Close down Boracay.

This may have been the most “stupid” and “weird” suggestion, nay solution, ever offered to the island’s gnawing environmental and sanitation problems, but it’s how the much-abused line “political will” should be best illustrated if we are really serious in curving the problem and not merely doing a lip service.

A mere expression of “sadness”, “worry”, and “concern” is no longer viable and effective to assuage the stakeholders, especially the residents of Malay, Aklan.

The Romans will tell us, “Nos postulo moventur eundemque” or we need a concrete move.

After an age-old peroration, there must now be dramatic results.


It was Sec. Cimatu himself who reshuffled the monotonous “political will” line as the supposed solution to arrest the environmental fiasco in the 1,032-hectare premier tourist destination.

Past Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Department of Tourism (DOT) appointees of former presidents have overused and abused those forlorn expressions to the point that they have sounded corny and become phonies in the eyes of the public when nothing has really happened to lift Boracay from the nadir.

So many DENR and DOT officials in the past have performed the same hokey and theatrical show for Boracay’s woes in front of Malay residents since the time of Tita Cory, FVR, Erap, Ate Glo, and P-Noy.

Secretaries Cimatu and Wanda Tulfo-Teo were not the first and  last Famas awardees.

We can only hope their twin-department Boracay rendezvous on January 9, 2018, capped by an amazing aerial inspection, dialogue with local officials and investors, and press conference to boot, will not be buried in the statistics of junkets and end up as another case of ningas cogon like what their predecessors did in the past.


Closing Boracay can be done if that is the only way to discipline or punish insensitive resort and hotel owners who violate environmental laws with impunity.

When the island is restricted, profits of greedy and callous investors will nosedive.

Sporadic construction of buildings and houses in beach areas prone to surges of the sea and in mountain slopes that produce pollution and sanitation problems will be regulated if will not come to a screeching halt.

Impact on local economy may be catastrophic, but residents must learn to adapt and become self enterprising for the time being. It won’t be the end of the world.

Business must be accompanied with respect and responsibility, commitment to protect and improve the residents’ health and quality of life, and respect for environmental laws as a paramount concern.

The move will anger a lot of stakeholders and may be sneered at by the municipal and provincial governments, Boracay Foundation Inc. (BFI), and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Boracay as harsh and counter-productive.

As the population in the world-famous island increases, so does the intensity of destruction to environment and rapid decline of the residents’ quality of life.

Political will, isn’t it?


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Herbert Vego’s pain

“During my days of deepest grief, in all of my shock, sorrow and struggle, I sat at the feet of God. I literally spent hours each day reading God’s word, meditating on scripture and praying. I intentionally spent a significant amount of time being still before God.”

–Rick Warren

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY –– Only a handful of people know the weight being carried nowadays by our senior media colleague, Mr. Herbert Vego, inside his heart and mind.

I learned about this “weight” buried deep inside Mr. Vego’s heart and mind when I was in New Jersey in January this year.

Some of our friends who have seen Mr. Vego these past weeks, may have noticed something unsual in the way he speaks and the sadness that illuminates in his 68-year-old face.

It is the kind of grief we normally see in the face of a moribund man.

The kind of melancholy that can only be washed away by the Divine Intervention.


Thus the punches Mr. Vego absorbed on the face when he was attacked by barangay captain Sumakwel Nava in the coffeeshop of Hotel del Rio in Iloilo City on March 7 were peanuts compared to the real pain he has been concealing in his heart and mind these past two months.

Mr. Vego would probably be willing to take more of those punches and other physical “punishments” if they could only solve and instantly expunge the real thorn that has been tormenting his heart and mind since January this year.

If you will know what this problem is, you will probably embrace Mr. Vego instead of hurting him physically.


I would like to share this letter to Mr. Herbert Vego entitled “Daddy” by Mindy Pfankuch Pfankuch


You were one of the first I laid eyes on when I came into this world

I didn’t know you at first but you were my daddy and later to become my hero

You were one of the first I loved

I chose you over my pink stuffed bear

I loved how you’d pick my up and hug me I’d feel so secure

You’d lift me with one arm way above your head and play helicopter

As I started to grow you taught me to stand and walk

You’d guide me so carefully so I wouldn’t fall

Once I began to walk on my own you stood close by just in case I fell down

If I did you’d pick me up –

Wipe the tears off my face and kiss my pain away

Once I got older I didn’t need your help walking but I needed your love and time

We’d play basketball, if I couldn’t reach the basket you’d lift me up so I could –

Making me feel like I was number one

You taught me how to shoot a gun and to not be afraid

You always helped me find a car in my price range that I liked

You showed me how to change the oil in my car,

I’m the only one of my friends that knows how, which make me feel smart

You’d do almost anything to see me happy

You always encourage me to try my best, and support me one hundred and ten percent

I’ve come to realize that I’m a lot like you

You help me realize common sense isn’t that common

You also taught me to be witty

I follow in your steps of being a smart aleck

You taught me how to deal with people and how to get what I want

And when ever some one says:

You’re just like your dad I can’t help but smile and be proud

You’re not only my dad but you’re my hero

Dad even though I’m growing up I still need your loving bear hugs,

And encouraging words of wisdom

Don’t forget I will always be your little baby girl

And you will always be my loving father and hero

I love you dad!

Love always Mindy




Why husband Richard is silent

“A good wife always forgives her husband when she’s wrong.”
— Milton Berle


By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY –– Before the start of any formal investigation in congress on the Dengvaxia tragedy, the name of Dr. Janette Loreto-Garin is already in tatters.
Angry parents, politicians, health workers, opinion writers tore to shreds the former Philippines Department of Health (DOH) secretary and blamed her for the titanic vaccination disaster that reportedly put at risk thousands of lives of Filipino schoolchildren.
If she were Japanese, Loreto-Garin, 45, would have committed suicide due to large-scale damage on her name and intensity of condemnation from irate public.
But Loreto-Garin isn’t yet finished.
She didn’t fly the coop.
She failed to immediately address the issue because she was mourning the recent death of her father, Jose, in Baybay, Leyte.
She has expressed willingness to face any investigation in proper forum and in proper time.


We expect Iloilo 1st district Rep. Oscar “Richard” Garin Jr., husband of Dr. Loreto-Garin, to defend his wife amid the worsening storm of public denunciation.
Rep. Garin, himself probably shocked by the wave of public outcry for his wife’s blood, hasn’t issued any public statement in defense of his physician wife.
But in his Facebook account, Rep. Garin posted on December 10, 2017 a NEWS ABS-CBN.COM article entitled: “Garin tags ex-health chief Ona in dengue vaccine decision.”
Earlier on December 8, 2017, Rep. Garin also posted a NEWSINFO INQUIRER.NET opinion article entitled: “In defense of Garin” written by Ramon Tulfo.
No husband will sit down and keep quite while his wife is being sliced to pieces by vitriol and vilification coming from all angles.
No husband will not feel sad after seeing on national TV and reading in the newspapers and the social media bundles of unsavory words being thrown at his wife.
But unlike other husbands or wives of embattled public officials who immediately join the fray and lash at critics of their loved ones when push comes to shove, Rep. Garin did not want to throw caution to the wind and will probably wait for the right time to open his mouth.

Owners of restaurants and pubs selling liquors in Iloilo City in the Philippines are aghast by the city dads’ proposal to limit the serving or selling of alcoholic drinks at 1 o’clock in the morning.
They fear loss of income.
Many of these establishments operate only at night and cater to drinking customers and tourists who come home late or at around 3 to 4 o’clock in the morning.
The proposal came after a shooting incident killed a promising medical worker at Smallville two weeks ago.
Probers attributed the violence to a dispute between two groups of young men intoxicated by liquor.
They theorized that if they were not drunk, the protagonists wouldn’t have resorted to violence and a life would’ve been spared.
But what about illegal drugs? Where authorities able to determine with finality that liquor had caused the fracas?
But in any decision that redounds to the benefit of society, the public officials have the final say after a public hearing has been conducted.

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Posted by on December 11, 2017 in HEALTH, NEWS!!!NEWS!!!NEWS!!!


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