Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success

"You are what your deep, driving desire is. As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny." BRIHADARANYAKA UPANISHAD IV.4.5 

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- Amid heavy downpour one afternoon on June 4, 2010, I made a quick dash to Vancouver's jampacked Queen Elizabeth Theater in British Columbia in Canada to attend Dr. Deepak Chopra's lecture on health and wellness dubbed “Ultimate Happiness Prescription.” 
Five years earlier in 2005, I was enamored with Chopra after reading his best-selling book, "The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success" which is "a practical guide to the fulfillment of our dreams." 
Based on natural laws which govern all of creation, Chopra explains that the book "shatters the myth that success is the result of hard work, exacting plans, or driving ambition."
Chopra offers a life-altering perspective on the attainment of success: Once we understand our true nature and learn to live in harmony with natural law, a sense of well-being, good health, fulfilling relationships, energy and enthusiasm for life, and material abundance will spring forth easily and effortlessly.
Filled with timeless wisdom and practical steps we can apply right away, this is a book we will want to read and refer to again and again.


THE LAW OF PURE POTENTIALITY. The source of all creation is pure consciousness...pure potentiality seeking expression from the unmanifest to the manifest.
And when we realize that our true Self is one of pure potentiality, we align with the power that manifests everything in the universe.
THE LAW OF GIVING. The universe operates through dynamic and receiving are different aspects of the flow of energy in the universe.  
And in our willingness to give that which we seek, we keep the abundance of the universe circulating in our lives.
THE LAW OF "KARMA" OF CAUSE AND EFFECT. Every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in like kind...what we sow is what we reap.
And when we choose actions that bring happiness and success to others, the fruit of our karma is happiness and success.


THE LAW OF LEAST EFFORT. Nature's intelligence functions with effortless ease...with carefreeness, harmony, and love.
And when we harness the forces of harmony, joy, and love, we create success and good fortune with effortless ease.
THE LAW OF INTENTION AND DESIRE. Inherent in every intention and desire is the mechanics for its fulfillment...intention and desire in the field of pure potentiality have infinite organizing power.
And when we introduce an intention in the fertile ground of pure potentiality, we put this infinite organizing power to work for us.


THE LAW OF DETACHMENT. In detachment lies the wisdom of the wisdom of uncertainty lies the freedom from our past, from the known, which is the person of past conditioning.
And in our willingness to step into the unknown, the field of all possibilities, we surrender ourselves to the creative mind that orchestrates the dance of the universe.
THE LAW OF "DHARMA" OR PURPOSE IN LIFE. Everyone has a purpose in life...a unique gift or special talent to give to others.
And when we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ecstacy and exultation of our own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of all goals.


"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing" -- EDMUND BURKE


Typhoons. Earthquakes. Volcanic eruptions. Tsunamis. Massacre. Child prostitution. AIDS. Peso devaluation. Graft and corruption. Unemployment. Starvation. Is Philippines the next Sodom and Gomorrah? Signs of the times?
During a lavish banquet, Babylonian King Belshazzar saw the fingers of a man's hand writing these Aramaic words on the wall: "Mene, Mene, Upharsin." None of the wise men could decipher the words. 
But the Hebrew prophet Daniel told Belshazzar that the words meant that God had weighed Belshazzar and his kingdom and had found them wanting. A short while later, both Belshazzar and his kingdom were destroyed.
It's always challenging to practice a profession in media as so-called "catalyst of change" in a society riddled with man-made mayhem, vulgarity and barbarity. 


It cannot be said enough that crime is on the upsurge-- regardless who is the president.  The drug menace, a P205-billion-peso-a-year racket, is destroying our people, of all ages and walks of life. No victim is too poor, too influential, or too well-established to be more than a push-over for the ubiquitous pusher. 
The real crisis, as the disappointing revelations in the past years have reinforced, is in our law and order setup and our justice system. Our policemen, if not on criminal payrolls, seem to be increasingly clumsy and inept. 
Our soldiers "trigger-happy" and demoralized by plunder committed by their superior officers. Our courts overloaded, if not lazy, venal and corrupt. Our judiciary tainted by allegations of "hoodlums in robes."


Our educational system is mediocre and dominated by embalmers from funeral parlors. Our traffic is a nightmare--the drivers among the most undisciplined in the world (I'm speaking through personal experience)! Our religious leaders hypocrites and materialistic if not pedophiles and sex fiends that prey on the weak and the gullible.
Our lawmakers architects of political dynasty; their wives and live-in partners promoters of extravagant and lavish lifestyles amid abject poverty. Subalterns in the executive branch from Malacanang down to the smallest political unit are smitten by unreasonable junkets abroad--all at the expense of tax payers.
Our civil servants 10-percenters and merchants of SOP. Officials in higher echelons have institutionalized kickbacks and bribes in alarming proportions. Our young citizens embroiled in celluloid sex and lacking in spiritual and moral scrupples. Some Facebook and Twitter friends tyrannical and possessive. Further this affiant sayeth not.


Meanwhile, no matter how some people impeached the character of slain radio blocktime commentator Niel "Lito" Jimena, we cannot deny the fact that he was a martyr of Iloilo press. 
Since democracy was restored in the country after the EDSA revolution, Jimena was the 146th member of the Fourth Estate killed and the 9th this year. The Philippines, according to the International Organization of Journalists, is the second most dangerous country in the world for media practitioners next to Iraq.


Jimena's murder was only another stark reminder that newsmen and media practitioners, manning the ramparts on the battlefront, are constantly at risk and danger. 
We may fall to the hired assassin's bullets, or we can be suborned. Some of us can be "bought" or intimidated; we can be misled, or seduced. We are not supermen or super heroes in the cartoons, and those unlucky are always vulnerable to make a quick trip to the kingdom come. But we, by and large, try to do our job, earnestly, and constantly. We just hope Jimena was the last martyr of Iloilo and Negros press.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


By Alex P. Vidal

I will risk my reputation as journalist to declare that the incumbent mayor of Iloilo City has nothing to do whatsoever with the cold-blooded murder of blocktime radio commentator Niel "Lito" Jimena last August 22 in E.B. Magalona, Negros Occidental.
I don't wish to act as spokesman of the mayor who I haven't met eversince I left for the United States in 2008; but, I believe, we journalists are morally obliged to tell the truth, inform and educate the public, and present the facts of issues objectively without any mental reservation, fear or favor, and purpose of evasion.
We mislead the public when we make baseless and unfounded accusations and insist they are the gospel truth despite the absence of concrete and damning evidence.


We mislead the public when we make wild and incredible charges based on hearsay, half-truths, partisanships and emotions.  
We have mental dishonesty when we insist posthaste the city mayor had masterminded the killing because Jimena was one of those who regularly lambasted the city mayor in his radio blocktime programs. 
After talking to my very reliable sources most recently, I have become more certain that Jimena's murder could have something to do with his controversial liaison with police Senior Inspector Musa Amiyong, Iloilo City's former police intelligence officer, who was actively engaged in the campaign against illegal drugs in metro Iloilo.
Either the hit was ordered by the top brass of a disgruntled drugs syndicate that wanted Jimena dead as early as 2009, or by remnants of a group of former intelligence operatives composed of scalawags with links to the syndicate who were also involved in "hulidap" ("huli" or arrest first and "holdup" or rob them afterwards).


"Hulidap" is a common racket among rogue cops anywhere in the country. This has been a lucrative "sideline" of some bad eggs in police service.  And most of their victims are criminal elements that agree to settle for certain cash rather than spend time in jail.
This is where criminals develop their deep hatred towards the arresting officers and their civilian underlings responsible for providing tips that lead to their arrest.
In many cases, police scalawags utilize their civilian assets to transact with the criminals. There are cases when both the criminals and the civilian assets develop "unholy alliances" that result in the civilian assets being tempted to betray their police bosses.
There are also cases when disloyal civilian assets don't turn over the loot to their police bosses who, in turn, incur the ire of their "business partners" -- their fellow police scalawags waiting for their share of the "SOP" (standard operating procedure).


If the SOP is not delivered, either the police "business partners" will clash and shoot each other in a "misencounter" or "heated argument," or they will both agree to liquidate the erring civilian assets as punishment for betraying them.
It is not only the syndicates that are capable of initiating extreme punishment on police civilian assets. Internal wrangling over money matters among ruffians in uniform can also result in the killing of their civilian underlings.
The "Task Force Jimena" formed by Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (NOPPO) director, Senior Supt. Allan Guisihan last August 26, should invite Amiyong and ask his cooperation to shed light on their past operations and activities when both Amiyong and Jimena earned notoriety in the underworld community as "Batman and Robin." 

Friday, August 26, 2011


By Alex P. Vidal

If reports were true that unidentified gunmen tried to liquidate "Batman" while he was waiting for a ferry boat in the Bacolod pier for a trip back to Iloilo last August 24, our suspicions that "Robin" was murdered because of his activities as "Batman's" sidekick could be correct.
We suspect it was not only "Robin" who was the target of the assailants. Given the right opportunity and proper timing, the triggermen would have succeeded in taking the lights out of both "Batman and Robin" in three days!
"Robin" was killed in E.B. Magalona, Negros Occidental on August 22 after being chased down by two hitmen while riding on his motorbike. Iloilo-based "Batman" went to visit his subaltern's cadaver at the morgue of the Teresita Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City.


Sources said, unidentified characters believed to be cohorts if not the culprits who finished off "Robin" followed "Batman" and spotted him in the Bacolod pier.
"The presence of policemen in the wharf alarmed the gunmen and decided to call off the operation," a source informed us Thursday afternoon.
The source said "Batman" is aware that he is also being followed and probably marked for liquidation by the same characters who murdered his civilian partner "that's why he is very cautious and careful with his movements."
Because of that alleged incident in the Bacolod wharf last Wednesday afternoon, "Batman" must have been convinced already their enemies were determined to annihilate them at all costs.


This latest chronology of events surrounding "Robin's" murder will throw out to the window the insistence of curious observers that a top politician in Iloilo City could be the mastermind, and that "Robin's" murder was purportedly done in Negros "to confuse police investigators."
We refuse to buy this angle, although it is incumbent upon the investigators to seriously consider this possibility for procedural purposes. They could be right in this slightest probability. But based on "Batman's" alleged latest near-fatal brush with would-be assassins, we have become more convinced the entire hullabaloo is handiwork of gangland perpetrators with bad blood against "Batman and Robin."


It's not hard to reconcile the circumstances of alleged attempt to liquidate "Batman" after "Robin" had been downed only in less than 48 hours. 
If "Robin" had been ordered killed by an Iloilo City politician to even the score for slandering the politician in his blocktime programs, based on theories of those agitating to link the Iloilo City politician to the crime, why would the politician or the politician's mad dogs also run after "Batman" who does not handle political blocktime programs?  
Different angles and theories are being pursued and analyzed both by police probers, friends and relatives of "Robin" as they scramble to put a face in the puzzle and mystery that shroud "Robin's" cruel death.


For the meantime, we appeal to authorities to dig deeper into the angles of "double-cross" and "vengeance over a botched deal." Sources told us the 2009 slay attempt on "Robin" could be connected to his murder last Monday afternoon.
We are not insinuating that "Batman and Robin" are the guilty parties in these brouhaha, but common sense would tell that extreme punishment of death has always been the underworld's logical and final option for those they deemed to be major stumbling blocks in their operations and existence.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

'Batman and Robin' tandem

By Alex P. Vidal

Now that Malacanang through Press Secretary Edwin Lacierda has ordered a thorough investigation on the senseless killing of radioman Niel "Lito" Jimena in E.B. Magalona, Negros Occidental last August 22, expect police probers, led by E.B. Magalona police chief, SP04 Leonardo Cobing, to leave no stone unturned in solving the grisly crime soon.
We expect a breakthrough in the case at least before the year ends when witnesses start to come out in the open and pinpoint the perpetrators and the masterminds after the Iloilo Press Club (IPC) dangled a P100,000 reward for anyone who can provide information for the culprits' immediate arrest. 
We still maintain that Jimena's murder could have something to do with his part-time job as police Senior Inspector Musa Amiyong's "runner" or "hitman" during the police officer's controversial stint as intelligence chief of the Iloilo City Police Office where they became widely known in the underworld community as "Batman and Robin."


"Batman and Robin" were hero cartoon characters and partners in fighting the bad guys in society. 
They tackled their foes in a hand-to-hand combat side by side. 
One of them was useless if the other was missing.
The Amiyong-Jimena romance that romped off some five years ago, became the object of gossips and constant discussions among coffee shop habitues in Iloilo City.
How they became infatuated with each other was something that intrigued some rank-and-file cops and fellow radio reporters. 
One time in a coffee shop inside SM city, an enraged Jimena punched fellow mediaman Francis Terania "for spreading a gossip about Jimena and Amiyong." Terania, who did not fight back, denied his friend's allegation but theorized "there was something fishy" when a cop and an off-and-on broadcaster form a team purportedly to run after illegal drugs syndicates.


It was not far-fetched for the Amiyong- Jimena tango to hit off since Amiyong is one of the only few police officers closed to members of media in Iloilo City. 
In fact, he is a "fast drawer" when it comes to picking up the tab for his media friends' coffee and tea. 
As Iloilo's "Batman and Robin," they were dreaded and merciless against the small fries but haven't bagged a single big fish despite their well-oiled operations, something that dismayed Amiyong's superiors and lent credence to suspicions they were doing some "monkey business."
We are not saying that Amiyong and Jimena were bad guys and had circumvented the laws or used their power and influence for their own whims and caprices. 
But one thing's for sure, they are not immaculate!


If he is hellbent to give justice to his murdered subaltern, Amiyong should disclose to investigators all their botched and successful operations against suspected traders of illegal drugs in the past.
How many arrests have they made during the period of their notoriety as "Batman and Robin?" 
Who were the personalities involved and how did Amiyong deal with them even if they were known to be untouchables? 
What is the status of the cases, if there are any, filed against the suspects?
Furthermore, what qualifications did Jimena possess that prompted Amiyong to recruit him to his team? What was Jimena's real job prescription? 
What step did Amiyong undertake when Jimena was first ambushed and survived in 2009 also in Victorias City? 
What could be the motive of that slay attempt on Jimena's life?


We are glad Amiyong has started to open his mouth. He should talk more and help ferret out the truth. Jimena has been eliminated. 
Amiyong is still standing--and talking!
Meanwhile, we appeal to some eager-bearer amateurs not to muddle the issue by prematurely pointing to an Iloilo City politician as the possible mastermind in the murder.
We believe Jimena was killed not because of his role as "anti-graft crusader" and for lambasting politicians in his blocktime programs. 
These issues are peanuts vis-a-vis the major angles being doggedly pursued by cracked probers that somebody could have double-crossed or hoodwinked someone in a very complicated transaction that turned awry. 



I don't agree with insinuations that because murdered broadcaster Niel "Lito"Jimena "lived an unethical life," he deserved to be killed. 
This statement from a retired PNP colonel to a fellow city hall employee is not only irresponsible but also unprofessional and reeks with arrogance and fascism. 
Murder will always be a crime no matter how we pronounce it; killing a person will always be a violation of God's commandment no matter how we justify or tolerate it. We can never justify the termination of any life based on principles and beliefs.  
In a society that values the freedom of the press and expression under the Bill of Rights, the right to criticize and oppose is sacred and inherent in every citizen.
Granting for the sake of discussion that Jimena, 42, was not a model media practitioner and his association with police Senior Inspector Musa Amiyong and other private individuals that helped finance his blocktime program was something that made him infamous and notorious, the least that his enemies could have done was to file a case against him. Not terminate his life. 


We have the courts of law that will throw the books on any erring individual regardless of profession or political and religious connections. After all, nobody is above the law!   
The Magna Carta of Freedom whether written on unwritten bespeaks of individual rights. But the ironical events of history testify that individual rights have never come in silver platter for the blood of martyrs flowed underneath the sarcophagus of freedom.
And men never learned their lesson for they take freedom for granted of the given irreducibly primary of nature which is not the case. 
The quest for freedom is dogged trail for mankind. It has been so because man the beneficiary of freedom does not understand why he needs it. If man's interpretation of freedom is mystical, social or conventional, then his individual rights hang on arbitrary axioms that can be granted or denied at the pleasure by the benefactor.


Individual rights being political, economic and social need a moral and philosophical system. These individual rights could only ferment in favorable condition of freedom under democracy and in free enterprise under laissez faire capitalism. There is no other alternative tested or tried that could guarantee fully the  individual his liberty and pursuit of happiness.
Despite his not-so-good reputation, I still strongly maintain that Jimena did not deserve to be killed. 
Meanwhile, I doff my hats off to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) for its statement released 48 hours after Jimena was murdered. 
Signed by national president Nestor Burgos, the NUJP statement thus stated: "A broadcaster was shot dead Monday night in Negros Occidental province, reports from local and national media said.


"Political blocktimer Niel "Lito" Jimena, 42, was declared dead on arrival from five gunshots at the provincial hospital in Silay City, according to dyEZ Aksyon Radyo-Bacolod.
"A block-time is a paid time slot in radio stations whose hosts are usually employed by the buyer or producer of the time slot.
"The online news portal quoted Supt. Louis Garonga, deputy chief for operations of the Western Visayas police, as saying Jimena was shot at his residence in Hacienda Theresa, E.B. Magalona town. Station dyEZ said he was shot by two men who chased him down on a motorcycle.
"Police have yet to determine the motive for the killing or if it is related to Jimena's work.
"Jimena wrote for Ilonggo News and other newspapers and worked for various radio stations in Iloilo in the 1980s until the early 1990s. He later moved to Negros Occidental.
"In recent years, Jimena co-hosted block-time radio programs in Iloilo. The block time program “Husgador” which he co-hosted over dyRI of Radio Mindanao Network-Iloilo ended last week.


"Former colleagues said Jimena's ethical practice had at times been questioned and that, at one point, he worked as an informant for an anti-narcotics agency.
"The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines called for an investigation on Jimena’s killing to determine the motive of the crime and the arrest of his killers."

Tuesday, August 23, 2011



By Alex P. Vidal

Police Senior Inspector Musa Amiyong has a lot of explaining to do, first, to the bereaved family of murdered radioman Niel "Lito" Jimena; and, second, to members of media in Iloilo and Negros.
It was Amiyong who recruited Jimena, 42, to become civilian agent of the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency (PDEA) several years back thus exposing the radioman's life to danger.
If Amiyong did not enlist Jimena in the dangerous police operation, he probably did not suffer a cruel death last August 22 in E. B. Magalona, Negros Occidental.
A radioman or any media practitioner for that matter, can't serve two masters at the same time. There is always conflict of interest; and he ceases to be impartial once he wears multiple caps and lays his hand on a payroll outside his mandate as fiscalizer in society and purveyor of truth.   
But because he probably thought he was incompetent as law enforcer, Amiyong needed to buttress his force by hiring the services of a mediaman to act as his sidekick. And Amiyong was so proud of this arrangement that he had no qualms telling all and sundry he was instrumental why Jimena was allowed to carry a firearm.


While having coffee at Dunkin Donut inside a mall in Iloilo City several months back, Jimena joined me in the table to ask my help regarding his relative who wanted to migrate to Canada. When I saw a short firearm tucked in his waist, I grilled him why he was carrying a deadly weapon when, as member of the Fourth Estate, he was supposed to be non-combatant (I am against the idea of allowing journalists to carry a gun. The pen itself is "mightier than the sword").
Jimena told me he was "helping" Amiyong in the cop's campaign against illegal drugs in Iloilo. In what capacity and how, he did not elaborate. How did he become instant police civilian agent while at the same time handling radio blocktime programs for politicians and businessmen was something that boggled my mind.
My worries reached the climax on August 22 near midnight when columnist Peter Jimenea texted me to inform that Jimena had been shot dead in E. B. Magalona, Negros Occidental at around 6 o'clock that evening.


According to police report, Jimena was riding on his motorcycle at around 5:45 p.m. from Victorias City on his way to his temporary residence at Hacienda Teresa in Brgy. Alicante, E.B. Magalona, Negros Occidental when two men riding in a motorcycle chased him and started firing a gun at him. 
Jimena incurred two bullet wounds in the back that exited in the front of his body. When he tried to escape by returning to Victorias City, his motorcycle lost control and fell. At this juncture, the assailants came nearer and pumped two more bullets on his head.
Probers said Jimena was still breathing when rushed to the Silay City Provincial Hospital where he expired at around 6:30 p.m.


"Ka Peter" Jimenea also had misgivings about Jimena having ties with the controversial Amiyong whose credibility as anti-illegal drugs crusader is also a big question mark ( I have covered the police beat in the early 90's and, more or less, I am familiar with Amiyong's "talent"). 
Probers are zeroing in on the suspects who also tried to kill Jimena in 2009 in Taytay Malago, Victorias City. In the first attack, Jimena was hit only in the leg and survived. Last August 22, they made sure Jimena was dead.
Many believed Jimena flirted with disaster when he decided to tie up with Amiyong. Probers theorized the hit men could be hired killers or members of a drug syndicate that collided with Amiyong's team.


Although he had also incurred the ire of politicians and private individuals in his blocktime programs in Iloilo City, the issues that Jimena handled were not so dangerous to warrant his brutal murder.
Only those with primitive minds that harbor deep hatred and ax to grind against Jimena and his activities as Amiyong's civilian agent would be emboldened to commit the dastardly crime, and Amiyong, as command responsibility, is not blameless for the death of Lito Jimena being his superior. 
We condemn Jimena's treacherous and senseless murder and demand immediate justice for our fallen comrade. Rest in peace, Lito!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Interview with Imelda; Plaza Miranda bombing

By Alex P. Vidal

When former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos returned in the country in 1991 five years after the 1986 EDSA Revolution, we were among the few journalists from outside Metro Manila who were given the chance to visit her for interview at the Manila Peninsula Hotel.
I was with freelance broadcaster Louie Vivar, Arsenio "Kamlon" Ang of DYRI "Radyo Agong", and Mario Jara of the defunct DYRP "Radyo Tagring." We went to the hotel with a police escort provided by then Western Police District director, Chief Supt. Ernesto Diokno. Our entry in the tightly secured five-star hotel was facilitated by Mrs. Marcos' media liaison, Sol Vanzi, who herded us like VIPs to the waiting area on the 9th floor.


Upon entering in a suite on the 9th floor, we were surprised to find out we were not the early birds, after all: fellow Ilonggo and Prensa Libre publisher Vicente "El Cid" Nava was already inside and about to finish his first cup of coffee.
"Welcome, my fellow Invaders of the Lost Ark," Nava, a poet and literary writer, greeted us smiling. "Your arrival has completed the outcast!""Well, I was told that Madame First Lady Marcos might or might not show up due to security reasons, among other alibis, perhaps," Nava quipped, avoiding an eye to eye contact with Vanzi, who apparently was peeved by his --and our -- presence, as well as Nava's snide remark.


"We are here to greet the First Lady because we missed her. It's been a long time since we last heard from her and the Marcos family; and we want to know from the horse's mouth how is President Marcos doing now in Hawaii," sighed Vivar, then a blocktimer of Manila-based DYWB and a "sweet talk" specialist.
"I thought you came her to interview the First Lady?" Vanzi retorted, raising her eyebrows to stress a point.
"That's exactly the reason why we came here all the way from Iloilo City," I volunteered. "We want to have not only an exclusive interview with First Lady Marcos, but also to be part of history -- as among the first media people to have interaction with the most famous woman in the Philippines since the EDSA Revolution."
"At handang handa na po kami (And we are very much ready)," Ang, holding his casette tape-recorder, chipped in.


"OK, just wait. I will check upstairs (12th floor) if the First Lady is now available," Vanzi said.
Several minutes later, Vanzi returned and produced Atty. Dean Antonio Coronel, the Marcos family's combative and fire-spewing lawyer. There was no Imelda R. Marcos."I would like to introduce to you Atty. Dean Antonio Coronel. He will answer all your questions concerning the First Lady. He has been authorized to answer all your questions," Vanzi stressed."Where is the First Lady?," Nava and Vivar chorused."She is not feeling well. You know, she just arrived a few days ago and has been busy meeting important people, friends and relatives she haven't seen for a long time; she badly needs some rest," Vanzi explained.


No choice, the "invaders" settled for the swashbuckling lawyer known for his goatee and acerbic voice. "They can't arrest the First Lady because there have been no formal charges filed against her; and if there is any, she is entitled to due process which is a sacred right of any individual regardless of status," Coronel remarked.
Since it was near the 20th year anniversary of the Plaza Miranda bombing on August 21, 1971, I asked Coronel about Mrs. Marcos' stand on the issue."Mrs. Marcos has maintained that it was the handiwork of the Communist Party of the Philippines (founded by Jose Ma. Sison)," Coronel said.But the CPP blamed President Marcos, whose rival, Liberal Party stalwart, Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Jr., who was assassinated on August 21, 1983 at the airport tarmac, was linked to the CPP, by virtue of his "curious" absence from the Liberal Party rally. 


The lawyer confirmed that some of those Mrs. Marcos (she was very much involved in the political affairs of the state especially during the Martial Law) had ordered arrested in relation to the political party bombing that killed nine people and wounded more than 30, were members of the media who went underground after their names had been linked to the blast.
He confirmed among those arrested earlier was radio commentator Roger "Bomba" Arrienda. The bombing happened a few minutes before 9 p.m., the official proclamation program for the Liberal Party's senatorial slate.Manila Mayor Ramon Bagatsing lost one of his legs; scores were wounded, including former Speaker Ramon Mitra, then Rep. John Osmena, the late senators Eva Estrada Kalaw and Jovito Salonga, who lost his eyesight.


In 1992, when Mrs. Marcos ran for president, she recruited the late comedians Chiquito and Johnny Wilson to run for senator under the KBL party and brought them to Iloilo City. They hired my services and for four nights and five days, I accompanied Mrs. Marcos in her Western Visayas sorties. 
Although they all lost miserably, at least I was able to rub elbows and exchange tete-a-tete with my favorite childhood comedian, the late Chiquito, one of the worst senators we never had. 


By Alex P. Vidal

One of the only few remaining bastions of old values and ethics in media today is Amante "Boy" Espejo Jr., Iloilo city hall information chief.
Everytime I played blitz chess with this uncrowned master, I learned not only the rudiments of Nimzo Indian, Pirc Defense and Queen's Gambit,  but media values and ethics which Mr. Espejo has been espousing -- whether he was writing press releases, speeches and souvenir book messages (from the time of Mayor Tita Caram, Mayor Roding Ganzon, Mayor Mansing Malabor, Mayor Jerry Trenas, and now Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog) or acting as official chess arbiter in major tournaments.
"Media practitioners must be dignified not only the way they perform their duties and obligations but also the way they behave because people look up to them," Espejo once said. "Their manners and professionalism are important."


Espejo, also a chess columnist, once observed that only sportswriters are spared from controversies and violence "because they don't dabble in political issues and are always respected by their readers." Material things, like money, can destroy a media practitioner if his values are not strong, warned Espejo.
Iloilo has the oldest press club in the Philippines. Ilonggos also take pride that they have Graciano Lopez-Jaena as role model and hero. 
Lawyer and political science professor Pol Causing once declared that "Ilonggos are among the best journalists in the world" in terms of substance, ability and professionalism. "Only those who don't strictly adhere to the profession's code of ethics succumb to temptations of material want and have tarnished the profession."  


Among the best minds that have contributed in greatness of the Iloilo Press Club were Rex Drilon, political essayist and writer and first Filipino president of the Central Philippine University; Dean Alfredo Gonzalez, essayist and author of the "The Bamboo Flower"; Stevan Javellana, lawyer and winner of the Palanca Award in literature and author of "Without Seeing The Dawn," an English novel about World War II published abroad and serialized in television.
We also had Ike Villalobos, of the Manila Bulletin, and the precursor of "timawaism" under the leadership of the late senator Roding Ganzon when it was soaring high against the vested political and economic power; Rodolfo Claparols, Sr., historian and former tourism director of the Western Visayas. He was credited for restoring discipline, dignity and honor to the club, according to lawyer Ernie Dayot.


The Iloilo Press Club is the synthesis of the old and the new values. In harmony, they are to blend and work for the benefit of the people. But if the old values are lost, no longer observed or honored, where shall the new values be salted, as spoken in the parable?  
The old values in the press club are the verities of honesty, sincerity, discipline, dedication and love of the profession and not for monetary consideration. 
The press club like any other enterprise thrives in the confidence and support of the people. It is an article of faith that every member must be like Caesar's wife--above suspicion and must abide to the highest standard of ethics and excellence.
"Give the people the light so that they can see," Rex Drilon once declared, making this battlecry as the motto of the Iloilo Press Club.

Monday, August 15, 2011


"Now I understand what you tried to say to me
and how you suffered for your sanity; and how you tried to set them free: They would not listen; they did not know how -- perhaps they'll listen now." DON MCLEAN 


The love we feel for a "best" friend is different from the love we feel for a girlfriend or a boyfriend, a wife or a husband, a daughter or a son, a father or a mother.
But when we hear the word "love" most of us think immediately of the way of a man with a lady vice versa. This is certainly a very real and evident form of love. It is not only the staple of great dramas. Romantic fiction, and Facebook "nunals"; Inday Badiday or Boy Abunda and Kris Aquino showbiz smorgasbord.
It is also one of the basic expressions of wedded union, of the permanent union, of the permanent bond between two persons that makes them one flesh, "twins" and "soulmates."


But this is only one of many forms of love. There is not only the love of David for Bathsheba. There is also the love between David and Jonathan, and the broken-hearted love of David for "Absalom, my son, my son." 
There is also the love of Plato for Socrates, the love between Jesus and the disciples, the love between persons who belong to a religious or intellectual fellowship. The love of Facebook and Twitter friends. Men and women love their native or adopted land, their family, their ideals, and their God.
The love I felt for Vincent Dadivas, a best friend, is philia or friendship love. It is the Jonathan-and-David kind of love, a comradeship or fellowship, usually, though not always, between two persons of the same sex.
Before he died in August four years ago, Vincent's wish was granted: he saw me for the last time on TV being interviewed "live" by IBC TV 12 host Evelyn "Bingbing" Josue at the Marina Restaurant. He was standing from afar -- in the Quirino Bridge of the Diversion Road (Ninoy Aquino Avenue). After the interview, he disappeared like a comet as he always did.


When he was alive, Vincent didn't belong in our world: he was a mental patient. But he was non violent. He was in and out of the mental hospital and lived most of the time in the streets, in the sidewalks; and even inside abandoned drums full of crude oil and beside garbage receptacles and septic tanks.
But this didn't change my view and treatment of the man who began to experience this mental disease when I was in high school, shortly after we concluded a marathon chess match that started at 8 o'clock in the morning until 10 o'clock in the evening. We missed not only lunch but also dinner. It happened not only once but many times in the past.
I was already home at around 11 o'clock in the evening when somebody informed me there was a commotion outside involving Vincent. When I checked, there was no commotion but there was Vincent--bare-footed, glassy eyed, speechless, a large amount of saliva falling from his mouth; he was holding an expired bread. Instead of answering when I asked what happened, he ran away. I gave chase and pressed him for an answer but to no avail. He was alive but I realized I "lost" him that night. 


In the hospital's psychiatry ward, I visited Vincent and, fighting tears, talked to him like a normal person. He never uttered any word, he would not say anything, but his eyes could tell he recognized me. 
When the streets became his permanent "residence", I always searched for him there and brought foods. We once watched a movie and his foul odor and dirty dress couldn't escape notice from fellow moviegoers who had nothing but show of disdain and discomfort for the "unpleasant" moviegoer. Curious kibitzers also milled around when we played chess. His opening moves were normal but in the middle game, his true state of mind dictated the tempo of his moves.
Four years ago, his only sister, Liberty, reported that Vincent was found dead in the sidewalk. No foul play attended his death. His health must have deteriorated after having been exposed to outside elements and sauntering in unsanitary urban jungle for 22 years (he once suffered a life-threatening wound on the head when a butcher tried to slice it with a bolo when Vincent tarried in Capiz).


Because they had already been emptied in the past, my eyes shed no more tears for the object of my philia, the Jonathan-and-David kind of love, a comradeship or fellowship between persons of the same sex. He needed to "rest" and death was Vincent's only logical destination! 
I believe that love essentially is good will--thinking well of others and wishing them well. It is the state of the will, not of the animal passions. Even in the earthiest form, it is a giving as well as a taking. People who cannot give of themselves can never know love.



WHEN two intellectual behemoths from Copenhagen, Denmark and Guimbal, Iloilo met and unleashed their philosophical ideas last week at the Atrium Mall in Iloilo City, jealous gods of Mount Olympus shed copious tears.
The meeting between Don Henning Blegvad, the "Friedrich Nietzsche" of Denmark and Atty. Ernesto Justiniani Dayot, the "Socrates of Iloilo," was witnessed by several students from the St. Paul University, who thought they were attending philosophy, political science and religious classes when they heard the two discuss heavy philosophical, social and religious topics at noontime!
The gods punished Prometheus for giving us fire (wisdom). Will they lower the boom too for Messrs. Blegvad and Dayot for giving us enlightenment? Whom they wish to destroy the gods will make mad first?


Incidentally, both Blegvad, 83, and Dayot, 80, can't be destroyed. Even death can't obliterate them as they are ready to take off anytime and both have expressed desires "to be burned" --not at stake like those in the Dark Ages-- but in the crematorium once their bells make a final toll. 
"I'm ready to go and I stand by my philosophical thoughts until the end," declared Dayot, who recently spent half a million pesos to beautify their family mausoleum in Dingle, Iloilo "where I will take my final journey."
Like Nietzsche, Blegvad doesn't believe in the personal god. "God is when you do the right things and serve your fellowmen with all sincerity and candor," he said. "God is not a business."
Blegvad openly wages war against dishonest government officials and hypocritical religious leaders and does not hesitate to use strong words when castigating them face to face both in private and in public.


"When I die, I want to be burned and my wish is for my ashes to be scattered around the schools and structures that I helped build," Blegvad stressed.
"I believe in the philosophy of reason. It is our bacon for living on earth," Dayot, 80, hissed. "Man in his primitive origin slowly developed the logic of reason to liberate himself, only to be subverted time and again in the darkest annals of history."
"I believe in the philosophy of self-esteem which makes every man a hero of himself. The psychology of self-esteem is the living mirror that reflects the nobility of man's soul, thus the man who is true to himself can never be false to another," Dayot added.


"I believe in the philosophy of science which gives technological and practical values and renders intellectual and cultural enrichment. I believe in the philosophy of brotherhood of men. The highest attribute of man is his sense of wisdom and it includes political and social relationships to increase knoweldge and to trade goods and services with others." 
 "I don't believe in Socrates, but I believe in Ernesto Dayot," concluded Blegvad, who believes that "some men sold their souls with the devil while others have tried to sell their souls, but there was no evil to buy them."
He was referring to the story in Western literature where a man bargained his soul with the devil, provided the devil would grant him his wordly desires. It was a contract that after 24 years, the devil would come to collect his soul. Thus, Dr. Faustus was given absolute power, great knowledge and riches.


And when the hours has come, Dr. Faustus was frantic and desperate, praying for a savior so that he will not burn in hell for thousand years. While he blamed the devil for his miserable condition, he was told to blame himself for being weak-hearted and ambitious.
Next Dr. Faustus called for the mountains  and hills to fall in him and the earth to cover him. Likewise, he called  for the stars to lift him up because they have something to do with the life and destiny of any man. 
At the end of the day, Dr. Faustus gave up and the devil came to collect his soul.
Will the devil come to collect, nay invite the souls of Messrs. Blegvad and Dayot?



Grafters in government were lucky there were no Facebook and Twitter when I made an expose on the teachers uniform anomaly in the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) now Department of Education (DepEd) in 1998, which didn't sit well with then Regional Director Pilar L. Pascual, who thought I was a media scalawag out to make a pile using the issue; or she thought I stumbled into a can of worms and caught her in flagrante delicto with hands in the cookie jar!
Had the expose happened today, the whole world would have been given a front seat view of how rotten was the system in this government agency via our Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as our private blogs. 
When I published Pascual's "regional order no. 7 series of 1998" dated March 9, 1998 regarding school/office uniforms addressed to all schools division superintendents, administrators and principals of schools, she would no longer accommodate my requests for interview in her office.


How did she develop "media shyness" overnight remains a mystery which Pascual managed to keep under wraps until this day, wherever she is now.
In that regional order, Pascual "recommended" private contractor, Elizabeth Hammonds, as exclusive supplier "in compliance with Department Order No. 66 s. 1997."
"It is hereby ordered that all concerned acquire the uniforms in one form, cloth pattern and color tones as prescribed on the issuance," stated Pascual's order. "In order to get the same quality nearest to the authentic original winning entry of the required gala set, the complete uniform sets produced by the winner, Mrs. Elizabeth Hammonds is recommended."


Pascual explained that Hammonds' "volume production for the four complete sets are made of textile material which is durable, wrinkle free, soft, heavy drape, and 'wash and wear' kind, the same as one used for the original winning gala design sample."
Pascual's order continued: "With the 1997 clothing allowance allocated and received last year and the 1998 clothing allowance which is expected to be released soon, the amount is sufficient to buy the materials.
"The budget required to purchase the four sets of ready to wear uniforms is P3,450 for the teaching group and P3,550 for non-teaching group, while the pre-cuts clothing materials with complete accessories will cost P2,700 for the teaching group and P2,800 for non-teaching group considering the difference in the materials used."


Pascual required the "strict compliance on wearing of uniforms for both groups" which will take effect "after all concerned are able to acquire complete sets and not later than the opening of classes on June 1998."
But, lo and behold, here comes the spoiler! 
Iloilo Schools Superintendent Raymundo Lapating flew the coop when he sent me a letter to clarify that Pascual's order had been rescinded by DECS Oder No. 43 series of 1998 and DECS Order No. 66 series of 1997 (the same order she had invoked in recommending Hammonds) dated Jan. 30, 1998 and Sept. 16, 1997, respectively.
Lapating earlier told me over the phone "I did not and do not intend to endorse or advertise products of any particular supplier, manufacturer or distributor of DECS uniforms; the aformentioned included."


The policy, Lapating pointed out, was consistent with DECS Order No. 43, dated Jan. 30, 1998 which states that "DECS has not authorized or designated any individual or entity as the official supplier of the aforementioned uniforms and/or textile materials."
"To set the record straight and to avoid misinterpretation, it is hereby declared as a policy that the purchase of uniforms by the DECS personnel from any manufacturer, supplier or distributor is his own personal choice provided the materials conform with the specifications prescribed by DECS," Lapating explained in his letter.
In a stroke that broke the back of the camel, Lapating totally blew to pieces Pascual's recommendation of Hammonds by declaring that "consistent" with the DECS orders he had pointed out, "the purchase of DECS uniforms from teachers cooperative/association is hereby encouraged."      



Because of his inability to connect with some intellectual demigods in the city mayor's office during the time of Mayor Mansueto Malabor, former city councilor Restituto "Agent Kurantay" Jotes, Jr.  was always in the receiving end and reduced into a vegetable sprig.
When Malabor failed to immediately act on his request for release of his share of the internal revenue allotment (IRA) fund in the amount of P500,000, he freaked out and collided with the late lawyer Saturnino Gonzales, chief of the city general services office, who didn't like the way Jotes structured his letters to Malabor.
On August 15, 1994 in the stairways near the city legal office of the old city hall, the two almost came to blows.


Jotes was on his way down, while Gonzales was going up. I was with Bombo Radyo city hall beat reporter and now Leon councilor Abe Beatingo who just interviewed me regarding my "membership" with a religious cult, "Children of God."
"Islan mo ang tono sang letter mo kon gusto mo nga aksyonan ato ni meyor (You have to tone down your letter if you want the mayor to act on it)," Gonzales lectured Jotes. "Naga deal ikaw sa pinaka mataas nga opisyal sang ciudad indi kay sa kanto boy (You are dealing with the highest official of the city, not with a street thug)."
Unprepared for the unsolicited sermon, Jotes blared: "Kag ano gid abi ang malain kon mag request ako sang IRA share ko kay amo ina ang naka butang sa layi ta? Abogado ka dapat naintindihan mo ina (And what's wrong if I request for my IRA share because that's what the law says? As a lawyer, you should know that)."


"Hinaya lang tingo mo be. Indi ka mag padakudaku tingog di kay indi ini ya paisog isog (Just lower your voice. Don't speak louder because this is not about who is a toughie and who isn't)," Gonzales retorted.
"Ay sus, sin o ang nagapaisog isog haw? Permi nio lang ko diri gina habuyan sang malain nga sugilanon. Daw indi pa gid ninyo mabaton nga nag konsehal na ako sang ciudad. Wala kamo pag taha (But who is acting as toughie? You always bombard me here with bad words. Until now, all of you still can't accept that I am now a city official. You don't give me any respect)," bewailed Jotes, a former street sweeper who admitted he finished only elementary school.
The timely intervention of cooler heads prevented a melee as Gonzales' face turned red and Jotes' blood pressure shot up as shown by his heavy breathing.


At this juncture, Beatingo rushed to the nearest landline and made a "flash" report to their station's noontime anchorman and now city councilor Rodel Fullon. "Bombo Rodel, diutayan lang nag sumbaganay ang duha ka mga opisyal sang ciudad diri gid ayon sa hagdan sang city hall (Bombo Rodel, two city officials nearly came to blows right in the stairways of the city hall)."
"Umpisa nanaman sila? Boom boom boom boom (sound of drum inside the station announcer's both) Daw permi lang inaway ang mabatian naton sa city hall. Daw mga wala na gid huya ang mga opisyales naton dira. Boom boom boom boom (They are starting again? What we always hear from the city hall is quarrel among our city officials. They are shameless," Fullon boomed.


Jotes had earlier threatened to take legal action against Malabor when the mayor allegedly sat on his requests. "This is too much," he sneered. "How can I fully implement my projects if my IRA share has not been released yet?"
He accused Malabor of ignoring his first letter sent through city budget officer Brenda Jaranilla dated July 25, 1994 where he requested for release of P500,000 allotment for the following projects: construction of a recreation center at the Mandurriao Public Plaza; barangay mini-construction projects; and purchase of radio communication equipment.
After making a follow up letter, Jotes said Malabor's office only received and stamped it. In his third letter, Jotes castigated the city mayor: "It is true that you, being the chief executive of this city, you (sic) are the person who has the authority to release funds or the person who has final say in every undertaking we have in the city.


"However, let me remind you, that we are talking here about issues for and in behalf of the general public of the city of Iloilo and not by personalities.
"Thus, I'll be constrained to take legal action in effect if and when you do not release the intended funds I am requesting not later than this month. Hoping for your cooperation and better service without personalizing the issue."
When reached for his comment, Malabor murmured, "ma meyor sia anay sa ciudad antis sia mag mandar (he should become mayor first before he makes a demand)."