Thursday, October 12, 2017

911 call makes Fil-Am poll looks like carnival of thugs

"In war, truth is the first casualty."

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- Was the 911 call necessary?
When feuding officials of the Philippine Independence Day Parade, Inc. (PIDCI) could not agree on who should be hustled off and who should remain in the polling place, there was no need to call the cops and interrupt the proceedings.
Those involved in the election of PIDCI's new set of officers on October 7 were adults and professionals, not kindergarten pupils, thieves, thugs, pagans or nincompoops.
In the first place, why proceed with the election if there was a fundamental flaw in the system: the unmatched and squalid membership list?
And was the 911 call not an insult on the authority of Philippine Consul-General and PIDCI honorary chair Tess Dizon-De Vega, the highest Philippine official in th event?


Dizon-De Vega was in full command and authority over anyone else present; and the police had no business to gatecrash an affair participated by consulate personnel unless their services or help were solicited like what a losing candidate for the board did when he dialed 911 after the Comelec had ordered a membership watchman ejected from the polling venue.
The cops could only interfere if somebody had been mugged or manhandled; if someone had collapsed as a result of an act of violence, ailment, or natural calamity.
We dial 911 if there are near-death crises--flood, fire, hostage-taking incident, vehicular mishap, collapsed building, among other violent scenarios.
Not because one party in an election did not agree with its rivals in assignment of personnel; not because an alleged election fraud was taking place.


When we dial 911, so many people are caught flat-footed, piqued in suspended terror, and are inconvenienced.
Drivers and commuters are delayed in a traffic jam; ambulance, patrol car, and a firetruck wheeze off frighteningly in busy intersections like a whirlwind, risking the life and limbs of everyone in the vicinity.
Only to find out when they arrived that a punk had been ousted from the election venue after emotions skyrocketed.

No blood. No injury. No fatality. Only forlorn faces of hot heads and disgruntled lackeys.
That 911 call was uncalled for and unnecessary.
It made the PIDCI election look like an assembly of hooligans or a carnival of thugs.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

NY Pinoy 'leaders' fight like kids in election

"You have to knock doors, make calls, and build a relationship with voters long before Election Day."
--Keith Ellison

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- I have seen these abnormal behaviors of our community leaders in the past not only in New York and California, but also in Canada.
Where can you find an election of supposed Filipino community leaders in a foreign land where police had to be requested to interfere and help defuse a tension?
Only among Filipinos, of course.
So much noise. So much hullabaloo. So much controversy.
"They acted like kids," remarked Arnulfo San Rafael, an election observer who didn't like the way some members of the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI) behaved when they elected their new set of officers in a controversy-marred poll October 7.
San Rafael noted that "it seemed nobody was willing to lose; everyone wanted to win at all cost."
The election of Antero "Ner" Martinez as the new president became one of the most controversial and, perhaps, the most raucous in the group's 27 years of existence.


Tension erupted after membership chair Ronie Mataquel was ordered removed from the polling venue on orders of Comelec chair Raul Estrellado.
Mataquel had been handpicked by outgoing president Prospero Lim to check the authenticity of the voters' signatures.
At this juncture, a losing candidate for board member reportedly called 911 but the cops could not install Mataquel back to the polling place.
Martinez beat Olivia David, 49-26. His team also nearly swept the remaining positions.
David's group, however, contested the results and accused her rival of election fraud claiming PIDCI's membership had been rigged to favor certain candidates.
Consul General Tess Dizon-De Vega, PIDCI honorary chair, nevertheless, proclaimed the winners.
She advised David and other losing parties to file their official protest after the proclamation. The con-gen also requested Martinez to resolve and prioritize the issue during his incumbency.


Elected new members of the board were Sofia Abad, Chris de Guzman, Rely Manacay, Joycelyn Aligarbes, Carmela Paredes, Mateo Reyes and Thomas Ludena. Abad was the lone survivor from David's slate.
The alleged PIDCI missing funds that reportedly reached $300,000 became the central issue during the campaign.
I earlier wrote a story about the issue and outgoing president Lim had vowed to settle the controversy after it became known to many PIDCI members.
The article, which came out before the Independence Day Parade this year, had been shrugged off by PIDCI leadership after Violeta Manarang-McGough had resigned as treasurer "for health reasons."
Lim had confirmed to this writer in an exclusive interview that the auditing of PIDCI funds, which included donations from the Department of Tourism and other business groups, "was not yet finished."
PIDCI organizes the annual Philippine Independence Day Parade on Madison Avenue.

US chess instructor eyes Mansion World Cup title

"Among a great many other things that chess teaches you is to control the initial excitement you feel when you see something that looks good. It trains you to think before grabbing and to think just as objectively when you're in trouble."
--Stanley Kubrick

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- Elmhurst Chess Club mainstay Gilbert Buenaflor Gonzales has warned that the entry of United States Chess Federation (USCF) National Master Tyrell Harriott, among other foreign chess masters in the final edition of the 2017 Mansion World Chess Cup Rapid Championship, might derail the chances of Pinoy players aiming for a grand slam. 
USCF Master Tyrell Harriott
"Tyrell will wipe out all our previous edition winners because he is fast and an active blitz player anywhere in New York," feared Gonzales, winner of the Cup's 13th edition.
Gonzales' concern came after tournament arbiter Rainier Labay hinted that they might invite Harriott, a Chess-in-the-Schools full-time classroom instructor, in the Cup's final leg.
"We have the best line-up among the Filipino players and I am confident that we can give the foreign players a run for their money as what they did in the past," quipped Labay, the fastest blitz player in the community.
Meanwhile, Ejhay Labuac, second placer in the 10th edition and former University of Manila champion, disagreed with Gonzales.
"I will retire (from playing chess) if Tyrell will beat us," enthused Labuac, who has played with Harriott in Steinway on several occasions.


According to the Manhattan-based Marshall Chess Club, Harriott is an active tournament player who has traveled to many countries to play chess.
"His competitive milestones include: 2nd place U2000 at The World Open in 2012, 1st place U2000 at The Continental Open in 2012, and 1st place U2100 at The Manhattan Open in 2012. Tyrell is passionate about technology and incorporates chess learning software, SMARTBoards, and online assessments into his pedagogy," the chess club reports in its website.
"I want to play in the next one," Harriott, who tots a World Chess Federation rating of 2175 (rapid) and 2197 (blitz), told Labay in a social media message.
"We will invite you next," replied Labay, who, along with FIDE Master Rico Salimbagat, is one of the highest rated Pinoy chessers now campaigning in the US.
The previous winners were: Benchly Buccat (2nd, 6th, 7th, 9th editions); Alex P. Vidal (3rd, 5th, 11th, 12th editions); Normando "Lolo Andy" Punzalan (1st and 4th editions); Gonzales (8th, 13th editions); Albert "Etik Etik" Riviera (10th edition); Thomas Hagakore (14th edition).
The Mansion World Chess Club Rapid tournament was organized in honor of Wesley So, a Cavite-born 24-year-old super-grand master now ranked No. 2 in the world, after he reached the 2017 World Chess Cup semi-finals in Tbilisi, Georgia recently.
He lost to China's GM Ding Liren, who lost to Armenia's GM Levon Aronian in the championship.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Guessing game continues for Iloilo City's 'Judas'

"A traitor is everyone who does not agree with me."
--George III of the United Kingdom

By Alex P. Vidal

Who is the Judas Escariot of Iloilo City in the Philippines?
This question has been buzzing ever since the erratic President Rodrigo R. Duterte placed both Iloilo City and Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog figuratively in the shooting range for being "the most shabulized city" and "narco-politician" respectively.
With no evidence to show to sustain his serious allegations, President Duterte had caused so much panic and confusion over his repeated attacks on the reticent city mayor that boggled the minds of the Ilonggos.
Ilonggos have been asking: Who has been feeding the president with wrongful information about Iloilo City and Mayor Mabilog? Who is the Judas Iscariot who sold Iloilo City and Mayor Mabilog for several pieces of silver to the angry and unpredictable President Duterte?


Judas Iscariot was one of the 12 original disciples of Jesus Christ and son of Simon Iscariot, according to the New Testament.
Judas was known for the kiss and betrayal of Jesus to the Sanhedrin for 30 silver coins.
In her recent Facebook account, Marivic Mabilog, the mayor's wife, posted an undated photo of President Duterte listening to a lady apparently talking across the table. Sitting beside the lady was Iloilo City Councilor Jeffrey Ganzon. Several others were also present.
"Guessing time. What do you think Jeffrey Ganzon is telling Digong about Digong's unfair comments and misconceptions of Iloilo City?" screamed the photo's caption on Mrs. Mabilog's Facebook account.
Ganzon was reported several months back to have been appointed by the President as his "point man" for Iloilo City.


Although Mrs. Mabilog did not accuse anyone of being a "Judas", the caption ostensibly was pregnant with many interpretations.
Because of bizarre events that transpired in the past few weeks that prompted Mabilog to take a leave, we can't blame the Doubting Thomases and political pessimists to make their own independent conclusions.
Based on that photo alone, however, it's premature to conclude that Ganzon is the Real McCoy in the game of political intrigues.
Even before Ganzon was given the "point man" portfolio, Duterte was already hot after Mabilog's heels after the President had falsely accused the city mayor of being the "cousin of (slain drug lord) Melvin Odicta."
Mabilog is the second cousin of opposition senator, Franklin Drilon, not Odicta.


Being one of those privileged individuals who can break bread and engage the President in a tete-a-tete on political issues and otherwise, Ganzon must have told the President about how great Iloilo City is and how efficient and competent are its elected officials.
Ganzon and President Duterte must have talked more about "other matters" and not just purely politics. That "other matters" must be something else and not about accusing someone of being engaged in protection racket and enriching himself while in political power.
As an Ilonggo elected official and son of the late illustrious former senator and three-time city mayor Rodolfo "Roding" Ganzon, Councilor Ganzon certainly can't afford to betray the city that made him and his family famous.
We're giving Councilor Ganzon the benefit of the doubt.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Ilonggo gamefowl book author visits US breeders

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- An author from Iloilo City in the Philippines will publish the first book that will chronicle the "detailed" history of gamefowl industry and its impact on the life and culture of the Filipinos.
Leon "Boy" Magalona, who recently visited some of the famous gamefoul breeders in the different US states, said the title of his book would be "A Warrior's Blood." 

"The book will bring out the truth and real history of cockfighting culture of the Filipinos," explained Magalona, 71, son Enrique "Eking" Bayot Magalona, one of the most prominent gamefowl breeders in Panay and Negros and contemporary of famed Candelaria de Jaro bigwig Luis "Chito" Tinsay.
Leon Magalona said he noticed that some of the books published in the past about cockfighting "lacked the historical facts."


In 1634, the first documented use of the word gamecock, denoting use of the cock as to a "game", a sport, pastime or entertainment, was recorded.
George Wilson used the term "cock of the game" in the earliest known book on the sport of cockfighting in The Commendation of Cocks and Cock Fighting in 1607.
Magalona said even before the Spanish came in the Philippines or even before Antonio Pigaffeta and Ferdinand Magellan and his men arrived in Limasawa Island on March 16, 1521, "cockfighting was already the primary entertainment of the Filipinos."
Pigafetta was an Italian scholar and explorer from the Republic of Venice who traveled with the Portuguese explorer Magellan and his crew by order of the King Charles I of Spain.
Magalona said his book will explain when and how did the US and the Philippine cockers start to fuse and galvanize with each other because of the gamefowl.
The book will also tackle the start of development and improvement of American gamecocks from 1600s after the discovery of America and immigration from England and Europe, he added.


Magalona, who arrived in New York together with his wife from Sampaloc, Nancy Ann Decio, visited some of the United States' top breeders in Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky and Albany, a New York upstate city, to collate additional facts, photos, and interviews for his upcoming book, among other purposes.
He has written journals related to the breeding, raising, conditioning, and gaffing of gamecocks but they were not officially published, Magalona said.
Two roosters fight each other to the death while people place bets in a cockfight.
Cockfighters let the birds suffer untreated injuries or throw the birds away like trash afterwards.

Revisiting ‘Thrilla in Manila’

“Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.”
--Muhammad Ali

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- Every time I worked with controversial former Australian National Boxing Federation (ANBF) president Brad Vocale in the past, our favorite topic was the "Thrilla in Manila" and why the boxing world continued to be agog over that spectacular boxing bout until today.
Vocale, who hogged headlines in 2015 when he refused to officiate in Queensland because of its lack of safety regulations, told me how he was impressed with Muhammad Ali's ring prowess, especially when he clobbered Joe Frazier via 14th round TKO (technical knockout). 

"Muhammad Ali showed the world why boxing is called a sweet science and why he was the greatest," Vocale said.
The historic event, considered as the biggest heavyweight boxing title fight in the world, occurred on October 1, 1975 or 42 years ago at the Araneta Colesium in Cubao, Quezon City.
It was a duel that defined the late Ali both as a sports icon and human being.
Ali (48–2, 35 KOs) settled his feud with Frazier (32–2, 27 KOs), who was credited for not falling flat on his face from Ali’s barrage of howitzers.
Trainer Eddie Futch refused to let Frazier continue before the 15th round when he sensed the duel no longer was a sport.
Referee Carlos Padilla terminated the bout as Frazier loudly protested to no avail wailing at Futch, “I want him, boss.”
"It's all over. No one will forget what you did here today," Futch barked at Frazier, whom Ali slandered earlier and called “ape.”
Both ring titans were exhausted and standing only on survival instinct.
Frazier’s lips had been busted and his face was crimson.


Ali also suffered a black eye in both eyes.
Ali described that third duel with Frazier as “next to death.”
The charismatic heavyweight champion admitted later that he asked Frazier to quit after 10 rounds.
“C’mon, Joe, that’s enough. There's still life after this fight,” Ali allegedly whispered to his nemesis while they were swapping bombs.
When I had a chance to work with Padilla in 1996 during the 12-round WBF welterweight fisticuffs between Amerasian William Magahin and Australian Brad Moderidge, I asked Padilla if he heard those words.
Padilla said he didn’t exactly hear the sentence uttered by Ali, but confirmed Ali was saying something only the two boxers had understood.
At that time of the historic tussle between two of heavyweight’s most feared fisttossers, I was only a kid.
We watched the fight on a black and white TV set in Molo district, Iloilo City after the class at the Iloilo Central Commercial High School (ICCHS) in the morning.
My recollection of the astonishing showdown was based on the films, journals, magazines, and newspaper clippings.


I met Sports Communicators Organization of the Philippines (SCOOP) president Eddie Alinea, who acted as Frazier’s press liaison officer, when we covered Manny Pacquiao’s fight against Joshua Clottey in Arlington, Texas.
Alinea said he was assigned by the Office of Media Affairs (now the Philippine Information Agency) to accompany Team Frazier while the boxer was in Manila.
He described challenger Frazier as “a monster in the ring but a gentleman outside.”
Alinea showed to me the black and white photo of a press briefing taken at the Manila Hotel where he sat beside the behemoth champion from Louisville, Kentucky. He called himself “The Greatest” and was formerly known as Cassius Clay.
Alinea, now in his 60s, also kept some souvenir items bearing Frazier's signature. In a note, he thanked Alinea for the Filipino scribe’s services and presence in the Team Frazier.


According to some boxing experts and historians I met, the “Thrilla in Manila” was the greatest ever world heavyweight championship in history.
In terms of heated rivalry, intensity, brutality, action and courageous display of skills, talent and spirit, nothing can beat the “Thrilla in Manila.”
There have been great marquee names in world heavyweight that emerged after Ali.
Trevor Berbick, Greg Page, Larry Holmes, Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe, Mike Tyson, to mention only a few.
But none of them could match his charisma and impact in the hearts of sports fans all over the universe.
The record established by “Thrilla in Manila” has not been broken until today.
As a member of the world boxing fraternity and sportswriter, I agree.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Too many cooks will spoil the broth

"Uncertainty is a very good thing: it's the beginning of an investigation, and the investigation should never end."
--Tim Crouch

By Alex P. Vidal

-- We suggest that for purposes of coherence and consolidation, only one investigation body should be tasked to investigate the "anomalous" P3.4-million chicken dispersal program of the Iloilo City government in the Philippines.
It has been established that some of the 17,500 chickens of the P10-million Integrated Community Food Production Project (ICFP) were below 300 grams as prescribed in the term of reference (TOR).
Not all of the 575 recipients have received the chickens, it was learned.
The probe body can grab the bull by its horns and zero in on this angle.
Everything else will be unraveled like a crossword puzzle. In a no non-sense investigation, no stone will be left unturned.
No need for more agencies to catch the prey.
But the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), initiator of the project, wants to join the investigation, according to reports.


Acting Mayor Jose Espinosa III had earlier tasked the Iloilo City Internal Audit Services Office (IASO) headed by lawyer Joan Montano to commence the probe on the hullabaloo, while the City Council's committee of the whole headed by Councilor Ely Estante will also soon start its own probe.
NAPC's entry may not be necessary because Espinosa's order was considered as muto proprio since the City Agriculturist Office is under his office.
Estante's committee will investigate the "scam" in aid of legislation, which is separate from the one being initiated by the executive branch.
A third party isn't anymore needed. One is enough. Two is too much. Three is a crowd.
Too many cooks will only spoil the broth.


Two of the "strongest" possible bets being floated by the Duterte administration for the next president of the Philippines are Sen. Emmanuel Pacquiao and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Pacquiao must be thinking that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte was serious when he mentioned in his speech during the former world boxing champion's birthday party in December 2016 in Gen. Santos City that "Pacquiao will be the next president."
But recently, Malacanang grapevine says that the fiesty lady mayor is being considered to be her father's successor.
Will it be a Carpio-Pacquiao tandem?
It will depend on the PDP-Laban--and the President himself.