Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Double standard

"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." — ELIE WIESEL 


By Alex P. Vidal


IF we steal two hens or peanut butter and bread and we get caught, we will be hauled off to jail like El Lute, Spain's most wanted criminal in the 60's. 

If the likes of Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada, Tito Sotto, backers of COVID-19 major “money maker” Pharmally steal hundreds of millions of pesos from the taxpayers and get caught, they are awarded with movie contracts, get to smile while doing privilege speeches, and hailed as heroes.  

This is the face of the double standard of justice in the Philippines. 

Only small fries get bamboozled; the barracudas and reptiles always get away with murder!

On TV, radio and newspapers we regularly monitor street waifs and juveniles being pummeled with police truncheons and locked in overcrowded jails for robbery and other petty crimes. 

But our SIN-nators and representa-THIEVES, our thick-faced politicians, who plundered and impoverished the nation, get only a rap in the knuckles.




Only in the Philippines where criminals hide under the mantle of "immunity from suits"; where dolts in government can tilt the justice on their own favor by using backdoor influence and arm-twisting tactics like threats and bribery.

Only in the Philippines where powerful politicians live in lavish lifestyles like Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette; where large scale thievery and debauchery involving public coffer is tolerated like a simple jaywalking misdemeanor; where an ordinary man gets a raw deal if he violates the law or happens to cross path with the mighty and famous.




A deprived and hungry Filipino foraging for food and seeking equal treatment of social justice in this benighted land is the equivalent of El Lute or Eleuterio Sanchez Rodriguez.

Once listed as Spain's "most wanted" criminal, El Lute, an illiterate peasant, was sentenced to death for armed robbery and for a murder he did not commit in 1965. He fought his conviction and maintained his innocence while in military custody thus his sentence was commuted to 30 years in a military prison.

He became an urban legend, people sympathized with him because the crimes he committed were "peanuts" compared to the rapacity of the oligarchs in their land who were never prosecuted despite their notoriety.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo—Ed)



Sunday, October 17, 2021

Pinoys patronize New York sidewalk barbecue


 “Comfort is key for a barbecue.”

Ashley Madekwe


By Alex P. Vidal


NEW YORK CITY — YOU name them, the Chinese male vendor, maintaining a sidewalk barbecue stand at Queen’s Elmhurst community, has them.

From lamb, chicken, chicken wings, chicken gizzard, flammulina, chivas, eggplant, squid, quail, beef, pork, fish tofu, lobster ball, roasted corn, sheep waist, frog  legs, shrimp, cow backstraps, gluten, lamb tendon, pork tendon, sausage. 

It’s a veritable smorgasbord of ready to cook meat, animal intestines, seafoods.

Prices per stick varies. Quail is the most “expensive” at $4.50 followed by sheep waist at $4. Frog legs is next at $3.50. Others are priced from the “cheapest” $1.75 to $2.25, $2.50 and $2.75.

All the while, we thought a barbecue stand can be available only in the Philippine slums and downtown sidewalks.

But we have it here in New York.




“This place is one of a kind,” beamed Hai, half Filipino and half Vietnamese, who is a regular habitue and customer. “There is no other place in the United States where Filipinos or other races, for that matter, can gather and spend precious time together while enjoying the barbecue.”

Parang nasa Pilipinas lang tayo (It’s like we are in the Philippines),” quipped Jimmy, a former seaman, who has lived in the community for 30 years.

The barbecue stand is located on corner Elmhurst and Broadway Avenues adjacent to the U.S. Market, a budget meat, fish and household grocery in the back and Walgreens, a chain outlet that specializes in filling prescriptions, health and wellness products, health information, and photo services, in the front.

It’s a stone throw away from the Moore Homestead Playground and a five-minute walk to the Elmhurst Hospital Center.




The barbecue stand virtually “competes” with popular oriental restaurants nearby, including Malaysian, Columbian, Tibetian, Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants, but offers affordable and easy to pick and eat barbecue pieces held together by a skewer or wood stick.

“Mura na ito (it’s actually affordable),” sighed Jun “Tawa” Galinea, a community resident.

Barbecue is slow-cooked and smoked over indirect heat often in a pit,  with the flavor of wood smoke an essential component.

Though barbecue is best known today as the comfort food of the South, the term apparently comes from the native Haitian Arawakan word barbakoa, meaning a framework of sticks—on which meat was traditionally placed to be cooked—adapted by the Spanish as "barbacoa."

Perhaps because of the abundance of large social and religious gatherings there, this smoky technique reportedly became particularly popular in the South. 

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo—Ed)


Saturday, October 16, 2021

‘Papa’s girl’

“Some people ask me whether I'm a 'mama's girl' or a 'papa's girl.' I'm nobody's girl. My brother clings to our parents; I'm the one shoving them out the door.”

--Hayden Panettiere


By Alex P. Vidal


WE will know whether Inday Sara Carpio is an independent woman or a “papa’s girl” on or before November 15, the deadline for the substitution of candidates in the May 9, 2022 Philippine election.

If she will substitute for PDP-Laban presidential candidate Bato dela Rosa as most political observers are anticipating, there will be no question that Mayor Carpio is also under the beck and call of her daddy Digong, just like Senator Bato and Senator Bong Go and other political duckpins in the Duterte administration.

If she becomes presidential candidate Carpio on November 15 after a repeated denial, daddy Digong’s face will be etched on her political face forever. 

If she will ignore the sirens, who charm the winds and lure nearby sailors with their enchanting music and singing voices, and continue with her “commitment” to run for reelection in Davao City, Mayor Carpio will not only gain my respect, I will also campaign for her if she decides to run for president in the future.

Credibility is non-negotiable.

And Mayor Carpio still has it now.




The Doubting Thomases, who think the Duterte father and daughter are only using Messieurs Bato and Go as smokescreens for their political zarzuela or the daughter’s presidential aspirations, will eat their words once Mayor Carpio will not show up in the Commission on Elections (Comelec)-designated area for the filing of substitution on or before November 15.

That means Mayor Carpio isn’t only credible but is also reliable and someone who has the palabra de honor.

But if she “changes her mind” in the eleventh hour (just like what daddy Digong did in 2016) because “only fools don’t change their minds” as her would be defense and substitute for Senator Bato as anticipated by most political observers, that splendid “credibility” will instantly burst like bubbles.

The voters can sometimes be stupid, but they don’t forget.

How can they forget Mayor Carpio’s heroic soliloquy that she “isn’t interested to run for president” because she is “more interested” to seek reelection for city mayor?




“Tops the survey” press release campaign tactic by some candidates will have no match versus the “trolls” or those who leave intentionally provocative or offensive messages on the internet or social media in order to get attention.

Trolls are reportedly being paid by moneyed politicians with more emphasis on destroying their rivals than to promoting the paying politicians. 

The use of trolls became effective when Mr. Duterte won the presidency in 2016.

Mr. Duterte became even more invincible and popular when he occupied the Malacanang allegedly because he had been buttressed by the trolls.  

While “(name of politician or candidate) tops the survey” press release has been a traditional election strategy to condition the people’s minds, trolls mislead and misinform the people.

More people nowadays are reportedly spending time in the social media platforms than those reading, watching, and listening to the news, music and entertainment in the mainstream media.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo—Ed)



Friday, October 15, 2021

Public office is a public trust, not a cookie jar

“No man should be in public office who can’t make more money in private  life.”

--Thomas Dewey


By Alex P. Vidal


NO one will admit that he wants to be part of government chiefly because, if given the opportunity, he will enrich himself—especially if he holds a powerful elective and even appointive position.

They are always “motivated by a strong desire to serve the people and improve their lives.”

They always “hate graft and corruption in government and we will eradicate it and help the poor” if elected or appointed.

Any position in government can be a source of temptation

Many honest characters who enter the government service sometimes end up as rapacious grafters if not plunderers.

As the saying goes, no one walks a saint in public service

From sheep to wolves; from worms to snakes; from goats to elephants; from fish to crocodiles and sharks.




But most candidates in the election, in order to convince the voters, always pride themselves to be paragons of public service; that they are sincere and “willing to make an ultimate sacrifice for the people.”

They will keep their cards close to their chest and will not reveal their malevolent hidden agenda.

Once they are in power, they forget the fundamental reason why they are there in the first place. 

They steal left and right like there is no next lunar eclipse and demand 10 to 15 percent from shady contractors and suppliers.

From thousandsthey are tempted to go higher in their money-making schemes at the expense of the taxpayers.

Once the opportunity presents itself, they will stop at nothing until they steal millions.

Let us remind them that a public office is a public trust, not a cookie jar.

That they cannot escape from the karmic justice.





IF there is Poison Ivy, an allergenic Asian and Eastern North American flowering plant in the genus Toxicodendron, there’s also Poison Isko.

The former is a plant, the latter is a politician—a traditional one pretending to be political rock star.

Poison Isko used to be an icon in the local government because of his head-turning and trailblazing track record as mayor of the country’s capital city

But this was before he shocked his admirers when he launched his presidential bid. 

People thought he was the Real McCoy in Manila City; that he will never abandon Manila after he has started to bring it back to its old glory step by step no matter how tempting was the prodding from the false prophets who had mesmerized him with misleading and obnoxious adulations that caused his head to swell.

As a result, he has been labeled as a poisonous object in next year’s presidential election.

He will poison the candidacy not of Vice President Leni Robredo, but of Bongbong Marcos because he admires Bongbong’s father, the late dictator President Ferdinand Marcos, and he had announced it for all the world to know.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in IloiloEd)

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Vote for the lunatics


“What can you do against the lunatic who is more intelligent than yourself, who gives your arguments a fair hearing and then simply persists in his lunacy?”

George Orwell


By Alex P. Vidal


DURING the filing of the Certificates of Candidacy (COC) on October 1-8 for the May 9, 2022 Philippine election, we saw how characters with terrible levels of mental deformity were allowed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to file their COCs like they were normal persons.

They grabbed headlines and were the center of attraction.

It’s because of the loopholes in our electoral system. 

In our decrepit system, even the bloodsuckers and voodoo practitioners can run for president—and “get away with it.”

While we laughed at the nuisance candidates who were in a mad scramble to beat the filing of COC, the world laughed at us.

People around the world monitored what’s going on in the Philippines with or without the election—and how we allowed rascals and weirdos to join the election.

The joke is actually on us normal people, not with the COC document-toting clowns and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-type poll applicants. 

It’s only in the Philippines where lunatics and characters with delusions of grandeur managed (or were allowed?) to join the electoral process as candidates.

We laughed while listening to them justifying their COCs before a national TV and other media platforms, but we haven’t done anything to correct this international shame, which had occurred like old TCM channel movies for several elections in the past.




We strongly push for a legislation to require every election candidate to undergo a thorough psychological evaluation or examination before their Certificates of Candidacy (COC) can be approved by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Those who are found to be unfit should be rejected right away.

The primary qualifications shouldn’t be just a college degree for higher offices, but more specifically stability of mental health for the candidates.

A person who holds a false belief has delusion. If he is an election candidate, he will contradict reality or what is commonly considered true. 

The strength of a delusion is based on how much the person believes it.

As we had emphasized in the past, no candidate thinks he will lose in the Philippine election.

If he loses fair and square, he thinks he was robbed. 

He doesn’t believe he will lose and his sick mind has conditioned him to only win. 

The caveat is he’ll be a pain in the ass for the entire nation if he loses. He will file a protest and create a mayhem once his followers believe his false fantasy hook, line, and sinker.




Health authorities admit delusions of grandeur can be difficult to identify “because the person having them believes the delusion to be true.”

Also, delusions can be hard to distinguish from what is called an “overvalued idea,” or a belief a person has that isn’t totally accurate, but isn’t exactly a delusion, either, according to Healthline.

A delusion of grandeur specifically is a person’s belief that they are someone other than who they are, such as a supernatural figure or a celebrity. 

A delusion of grandeur may also be a belief that they have special abilities, possessions, or powers.

Delusions are generally the result of a mental health disorder, explained Healthline.

However, not all people with delusions meet the full diagnostic criteria for any mental health disorder.

Many types of mental health disorders classified as psychotic disorders can lead to delusions. Healthline said these include: schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, dementia, delirium, major depressive disorder with psychotic features.




Psychotic disorders can change a person’s sense of reality. 

They may be unable to tell what is real and what is not.

Healthline has identified four main characteristics of delusion:

The person having the belief believes it to be true, even when the existing norm and other people know it to be untrue.

The person having the delusion will not listen to any other viewpoints about the belief and will not consider change when evidence challenges the delusion.

The content of the delusion is reportedly impossible or implausible for the delusion impacts the person’s daily life.

We personally notice these abnormal characteristics in at least four presidential candidates and in two vice presidential candidates. 

We will be flooded with names here if we will include those running for senator and candidates for the lower house, governor, vice governor, mayor, vice mayor and local council.

If the Comelec, or the legislature for that matter, can’t correct the loopholes in the qualification of candidates, time will come the Filipinos will elect public officials or local and national leaders who should be in the mental hospital, not in Malacanang, Capitol, City Hall.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo)


Wednesday, October 13, 2021

We all need a good sleep

 “I'll sleep when I'm dead.”

Warren Zevon


By Alex P. Vidal


THIS week I need a good sleep. I haven’t logged a normal sleep since October 8, the day I became a temporary “resident” of NYU Medical Center in Midtown Manhattan, taking care of a 93-year-old male patient, one of the multiple tasks I perform as a New York resident trying to eke out a decent living.

We understand that insomnia is a common sleep disorder that makes it hard for us to fall asleep or stay asleep. 

But my case is different. I didn’t have a normal sleep not because of insomnia, but because of “circumstances beyond my control” or job-related.

When we can’t get a restful night of sleep as I recently experienced, we feel tired, irritable, and unable to focus on tasks the next day. 

Everyone actually has sleepless nights once in a while, but if we have trouble with a healthy sleep routine three or more days a week, according to medical experts, we might need some help to manage our sleep.

What happens when we don’t get enough sleep?

Our doctor urges us to get enough sleep for good reason as shorting ourselves on shut-eye has a negative impact on your health in many ways, according to the Cleveland Clinic:

—Short-term problems can reportedly include: Lack of alertness. Even missing as little as 1.5 hours can have an impact on how we feel.

—Excessive daytime sleepiness. It can make us very sleepy and tired during the day.

—Impaired memory. Lack of sleep can affect our ability to think, remember and process information;

—Relationship stress. It can make us feel moody and we can become more likely to have conflicts with others;

—Quality of life. We may become less likely to participate in normal daily activities or to exercise;

—Greater likelihood for car accidents. Drowsy driving accounts for thousands of crashes, injuries and fatalities each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.




FOR the first time since she became the new governor of New York State, Governor Kathy Hochul, addressing me as “friend”, recently sent me an email, which she also presumably sent to other New Yorkers:

“Friend, When I was sworn in as your 57th governor on August 24, 2021, I told you I wanted you to know that you are heard, and that I was ready to get to work as your Governor to solve the big problems this state faces.

My highest priorities: combating COVID-19, getting aid to New Yorkers, and beginning to change the culture in Albany. I’m proud to report on day 45 – the end of our transition period – we have delivered on our promises to you.

On combating COVID-19, I held firm on a nation-leading health care worker vaccine mandate to keep patients safe. I announced a mask requirement in schools so our kids, teachers and students could go back to school safely. And I invested $65 million to ensure the wide availability of COVID-19 booster shots for older and vulnerable New Yorkers. As a result of our efforts, the percent of New Yorkers ages 18 and older with at least one vaccine dose (CDC) as of Oct. 7 was up to 84.9%, compared to 78.7% on the day I was sworn in.

On getting aid to struggling New Yorkers, we have nearly quadrupled the amount of rent relief going out the door since August 24, distributing over $800 million in rent relief. I convened an Extraordinary Session in the Legislature and worked with them to extend the eviction moratorium until January 15, 2022. And we made sure immigrant New Yorkers weren’t left behind, distributing more than $1 billion through the Excluded Workers Fund.

And I’m ushering in a new era of transparency, enforcing high ethical standards in our Administration, and pushing for real, bold ethics reforms to restore trust in government.

We’re also tackling some of the most pressing issues facing our state: fighting climate change and creating new jobs -- including a first-in-the-nation air quality monitoring program, putting the full force of the White House behind New York’s recovery from Hurricane Ida, signing historic parole reform into law, and putting our state’s budding cannabis industry back on track.

 You can read my full 45 Day memo here. And my friends, we’re just getting started.

I’m excited for more New Yorkers to get to know me and my direct, straight-talking and decisive style of leadership as I continue to work to deliver results to the people of this state.

One of my favorite inspirations is from a speech by Teddy Roosevelt—it speaks of the man in the arena who is marred by dust, sweat and blood, stark contrast with the timid souls on the sidelines.

For the first time in New York history, a woman is in that arena as Governor. As I undertake the weighty responsibilities before me, know that I have the confidence, courage and the ability to lead New Yorkers forward. And to make New York's women proud.

It’s our time to show the world that "ever upward" is more than just our State's motto. It's who we are. And where we are going.  Ever Upward, Governor Kathy Hochul”

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo)







Friday, October 8, 2021

They mock the electoral process

 “Isn't it the sweetest mockery to mock our enemies?”



By Alex P. Vidal


PRESIDENT Duterte is using his political sidekicks, Senators Bong Go and Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, as chess pawns in the 2022 Philippine presidential election.

If it is an actual gun battle, they will be considered as sacrificial lambs or collateral casualties if they can’t come home alive.

They are being marshaled and degraded like Aztec puppets without any regard to their present position in the national legislature.

Because they cannot say no to the emperor, these sidekicks end up as jokers; in fact, one of them, Bato dela Rosa, thinks the presidential race is just a big Punch and Judy show.

It’s so obvious the former police general, notorious as alleged chief architect of the Duterte administration’s bloody war against illegal drugs, didn’t have any iota of sincerity when he beat the deadline for the filing of the Certificate of Candidacy (COC) on October 8.




The neophyte senator showed up smiling and “clowning” in the Comelec-designated area in the eleventh hour and filed his COC for president under the PDP-Laban (Cusi wing).

When asked by alert reporters if he was just being used to fill up temporarily the candidacy reserved for Mayor Sara Carpio, who is expected to file her candidacy as Senator Bato’s substitute on or before November 15, Senator Bato couldn’t even recite the correct script when he responded with a smirk, “eh di mabuti” (it is much better).

In other words, he was never serious when he accidentally gave himself away. 

He wasted the taxpayers’ money and resources, including the time of Comelec personnel who facilitated the filing of his COC.

Senator Bato and his fellow chess pawns in the Duterte administration think the presidential race is a children’s party, thus they openly mock the country’s electoral system by filing their COCs even if deep inside their hearts they are aware they are only apparently being controlled and manipulated to say “amen.”

They are also probably fully aware that in every scenario that they are—and will be— involved during the election period, it will all be a comedy show.




We know only the marines will believe that Senator Bato is serious about his presidential quest. 

If he is not master Digong’s protégé, some people might think he will run for president to confirm the satire and polemic that PDP-Laban, which used to be an illustrious party before the Davao boys’ grand invasion, is now sinking into the deep blue sea.

But we can’t blame the political clowns as they are only doing master Digong’s bidding. 

Without master Digong, Senator Bato knew he wouldn’t be in the senate. Sidekick forever?

Ditto with Senator Bong Go, Bato’s running mate, who thinks everything that master Digong touches turns into gold, thus he must remain a sycophant for his own political survival and otherwise.

Mayor Carpio or Inday Sara is also dancing in the same tune like Salome.

Didn’t we write here only recently that they are “like father, like daughter”?

That they will first deny they are interested to run for president, and deny once more like members of Milosevic’s execution squad during the war crimes trial, and “change our minds because it’s the will and insistent demand of the people that we run (for president).” 

If they are hellbent to service the public, they don’t need to hide their plans until the last day of the filing of COC.

Only fools don’t change their minds? 

But fools don’t become presidents unless the electorate is fooled once more.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two dailies in Iloilo)