Tag Archives: FIFA World Cup

Pork verdict a World Cup goal for Filipinos

“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.” Nelson Mandela

By Alex P. Vidal

While soccer fans were waiting for the coronation of either Germany, The Netherlands, Argentina, or Brazil in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the Filipinos already secured their World Cup victory courtesy of the Supreme Court’s 13-1-0 goals against the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) recently.

Malacanang-backed DAP collapsed like a deck of cards and exposed this administration’s subservience to pork barrel to finance infrastructure projects and the like.

Malacanang’s embarrassment, however, became the nation’s victory. A victory sweeter than the FIFA World Cup.

Results of the Filipino People vs DAP championship dominated the major news headlines even in the Middle East, Americas, Australia, Europe where there are large Filipino communities.

Now that DAP has been declared unconstitutional and nipped in the bud, the bleeding of the national treasury will now come to a screeching halt.


The Supreme Court ruling stopped the thieves masquerading as public servants in their tracks.

But the sweetest World Cup goal came from the higher court’s order for those who have siphoned millions of DAP or pork barrel share to return the money.

The money belongs to the Filipino people and the SIN-nators and other lawmakers who feasted on DAP under this administration shouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole, ordered the Supreme Court.

But while we are jubilant about our own domestic World Cup conquest, we feel sad that some of the major infrastructure projects that have started rolling down the city and province of Iloilo are among those expected to be torpedoed.

Senate President Frank Drilon’s name came out first in the list of sin-nators with large sums of DAP appropriations at P100 million as of December 2012.


Drilon picked the tab from the DAP of most multimillion pesos worth of projects being implemented through the Department of Public Works and Highways and  inaugurated by no less than President Noynoy Aquino in Iloilo City last June 27.

Drilon has confirmed that DAP partly funded the almost P1-billion Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) at the Iloilo Business Park in Mandurriao district.

“Partly funded” means money has already been funneled to the gigantic structure President Aquino described as like the Sydney Opera House.  

What was shocking and repulsive, to say the least, was the revelation that some of the sin-nators who claim to be “champions” of public service and integrity like presidentiables Francis Escudero (P50 million), Allan Peter Cayetano (P50 million), Loren Legarda (P50 million), and Antonio Trillanes IV (P50 million) are also closet pork eaters.





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Posted by on July 2, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Rafael Nadal’s roots in Iloilo

“Some people are your relatives but others are your ancestors, and you choose the ones you want to have as ancestors. You create yourself out of those values.” RALPH ELISON

By Alex P. Vidal

In La Paz public market in Iloilo City where we regularly buy our meals, NBA fans wait on tenterhooks if Erik Spoelstra’s genius can prevent Gregg Popovich from becoming an Albert Einstein in court.

La Paz district is a football hotbed, home of the finest booters in the region next to the municipalities of Barotac Nuevo and Sta. Barbara when it comes to quality of players.

La Paznons so love soccer that they demolished an age-old outdoor boxing arena to further enlarge their football field in the plaza (You should have opposed this unpopular move, former First Lady Ming Ramos; but we heard it was because of your “beautification” project why the iconic boxing ring was obliterated).

But when it is NBA finals time, football or FIFA World Cup takes a backseat. NBA championship is a down-the-wire headline-grabbing event. Never mind if super grandmaster Wesley So will soon push the pawns for the Americans in the FIDE chess.

Never mind if Manny Pacquiao will coach KIA in the PBA (we saw the world’s best boxer pound-for-pound and PBA Commissioner Chito Salud shake hands in a sports page recently. In September 2001 when we covered Gerry Penalosa’s WBC super flyweight fight against Masamori Tokuyama in Yokohama, Japan, Salud was impressed more with Penalosa than with Pacquiao, then fresh from winning the IBF super bantamweight crown against Africa’s Lehlo Ledwaba on a 6th round TKO in Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s understandable because his father, the late former WBC secretary general Rudy, was Penalosa’s manager at that time).


We are aware that several days after the NBA finals, Ilonggos will continue to make a post mortem analysis whether it is the Spurs or the Heat that will end up bringing home the 2014 NBA title.

It would be a crime against sports, meanwhile, if we ignore Rafael “Rafa” Nadal’s most recent record-breaking conquest in the French Open just because the more glamorous NBA finals and 2014 FIFA World Cup are lording over the sports pages and in the social media nowadays.

The NBA finals series between Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs was tied at 1-1 when world no. 1 Nadal collected his unprecedented ninth French Open title by whipping world no. 2 Novak Djokovic of Serbia last June 8, or five days after his 28th birthday.

Nadal holds a special place in the hearts of the Ilonggos. Many local tennis fans can identify themselves with the talented Spaniard, who has won 14 Grand Slam singles titles, the 2008 Olympic gold medal in singles, a record 27 ATP World Tour Masters and a record 15 ATP World Tour 500 tournaments.


There are Nadals in Jaro district. Their siblings are mestizos and mestizas and it’s not hard to conclude that they have Spanish blood running in their veins. We heard the Nadals in San Enrique, Negros Occidental also traced their roots in Castellon de la Plana, Torrelavega, Valladolid and Pamplona, Spain. The tennis heartthrob was born in Manacor, Balearic Islands, Spain. We were colonized by Spain for more than 400 years, after all.

It is possible some of Rafa’s foreparents had roots in some Filipino families somewhere in the Philippines, if not in Jaro and San Enrique. Some of the friars, according to Jose Rizal’s novels, sired illegitimate children with Filipino women. We remember Maria Clara, among other victims of sexual abuses by these Spanish ruffians, in Noli Me Tangere.


Nadal can, in fact, be mistaken for a Filipino if he plays in the SEA Games or Asian Games. There’s a lot of handsome tennis, fencing and even soccer players who look like Rafa. Richard Gomez plays fencing in the SEA Games and his height and physique are similar to Rafa. His hairstyle, color of skin, and the way he dresses outside the clay court (where he is considered the “king”) are similar to some matinee-idol-looking Filipino athletes. No one will question his nationality on the spot if he will carry the RP flag in the World Olympic Games and other biennial events. Unlike decathlete David Bunevacz and brothers Phil and James Younghusband, who really look like children of white parents (although their late mother was a pure Pinay).

But the sad reality is Nadal is not a Filipino. Because we hanker for a sports icon so much admired for his skills and talent in clay court, we can always claim Rafa to be our own—but only in our dreams.

As we went to press, the 2014 FIFA World Cup blasted off in Brazil, triggering a worldwide sports mania that is felt even in the remotest African countries.

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Posted by on June 13, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Dregs of sports; Iloilo media fun run

“What is it they want from the man that they didn’t get from the work? What do they expect? What is there left when he’s done with his work, what’s any artist but the dregs of his work, the human shambles that follows it around?” WILLIAM GADDIS

By Alex P. Vidal

In 1992 when I won the Nike Marathon Media Fun Run at the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand in Iloilo City, there were two runners who actually finished ahead of me: Erwin Chiongson and Julius Padilla.

Erwin, who sprinted to the finish line like a zebra, breasted the tape unmolested first. He was followed by Padilla, then utility personnel of DyRI Radyo Agong (now RMN Radyo Mo Nationwide). I was satisfied with a third place.

But, lo and behold, a commotion erupted in the finish line while we were clearing the cobwebs. I saw our friend, event organizer and Cebu Freeman columnist Raffy Uytiepo, shaking his head while Erwin was arguing with race organizers. Not far was Julius, who was a picture of disbelief.

They were disqualified. I was declared the winner!


Race organizers asserted the fun run was for working media practitioners only and Erwin, they insisted, was a bodybuilder and owner of Winner’s Gym. Julius admitted he was not a full-fledged reporter but a “trainee” of the radio station. “It’s OK importante naka exercise ‘ta,” he gamely submitted.

Erwin insisted he was also a journalist because he contributed sports columns in the defunct Western Visayas Daily Times. His assertions, however, fell on deaf ears.

In fairness to our friend, Erwin, race organizers did not specify that sports contributors were not qualified. They were guilty of estoppel for allowing Erwin and Julius to sign up for the race only to disqualify them when they won.

But that is already water under the bridge. Uytiepo, an amiable and dyed-in-the-wool marathoner and sports scribe rolled into one, remained to be our friend and is still active in sports until today.

I admit I could never beat Erwin and Julius in any marathon again.


After reviewing some journals and videos related to the FIFA World Cup, we stumbled into a feature story about France’s Zinedine Zidane, author of soccer’s dirtiest foul in history.

The way soccer fans all over the globe ribbed Zidane for headbutting Italy’s Marco Materazzi in the chest during 2006 FIFA World Cup Final in Berlin, Germany, can be compared to the way fans denounced the act of cannibalism by Mike Tyson when he bit off part of Evander Holyfield’s ear in their rematch billed “The Sound and the Fury” on June 28, 1997 for the WBA heavyweight championship at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Zidane’s widely-condemned foul on Materazzi was blamed for France’s failure to win the World Cup in that year as he was sent off in the 110th minute of the game, thus he wasn’t able to participate in the penalty shoot-out won by Italy, 5-3.


“Ladies and gentlemen, this bout has been stopped at the end of round number three, the referee in charge, Mills Lane, disqualifies Mike Tyson for biting Evander Holyfield in both ears, the winner by way of disqualification and still the WBA champion of the world, Evander ‘The Real Deal’ Holyfield!’ Holyfield won the WBA’s boxing championship, prize, money and trophy because of Tyson’s disqualification,” ring announcer Jimmy Lennon declared some 25 minutes after the violent brawl.

Tyson, who claimed he only retaliated after Holyfiled headbutted him, was obviously frustrated that he could not nail down and intimidate Holyfield and was believed to be himself scared enough that he deliberately got himself disqualified.

Zidane’s and Tyson’s bizarre attitudes shocked the world since they were considered to be the greatest in their sports.


If they were notoriously labeled as “dregs in soccer and boxing”, Bruce Bowen of NBA’s San Antonio Spurs also joined them in the rank in terms of infamy and sports hooliganism.

Bowens, 42, was considered the dirtiest NBA player in league history. NBA writer Kelly Scaletta described Bowens as “everything that Ron Artest was or Scottie Pippen was with one twist that can only be described as malicious.”

He first joined the Miami Heat in 1997 before going to Boston Celtics in 1999 and Philadelphia 76ers in 2000 before returning to Miami Heat until 2001. He played as small forward for the Spurs until 2009.

Scaletta observed that Bowen had a tendency to slip his foot under opponents feet when they went up for a jump shot. When the players came down they would ruin ankles and knees.

“Such a move can devastate a player’s career and Bowen’s habit resulted in several players, including Steve Francis and Vince Carter, getting injured,” Scaletta stressed.

“Even when it’s not resulting in injuries, the fear of an injury can throw a player off his rhythm. Bowen, even without the move was one of the great defenders in the leagues history and didn’t need to resort to the habit.

That tendency, along with the same kind of great but dirty play that the other great defensive wings on here had, earned him the top spot on the list (of dirtiest NBA player in league history).”

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Posted by on June 6, 2014 in Uncategorized


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