Wednesday, August 28, 2013

SWAT men in Aksyonradyo Iloilo raid faced massacre

SWAT would have been wiped out

"The pursuit of truth does not permit violence on one's opponent." MAHATMA GANDHI 

By Alex P. Vidal

Many of those who saw the raid on CCTV camera conducted by Iloilo City's Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) on the station of Aksyonradyo Iloilo 720 on August 25, agree that the raiders would have been wiped out if they were responding to an actual hostage-taking situation or terroristic attack in that building.
If terrorists or gunmen were positioning in the area where the CCTV system was installed--or anywhere within the upper portion of the walls--the SWAT men would have been massacred because all their attention was focused inside the room where light had been switched on as soon as they entered the station's waiting area.
The enemies would have used the lighted room as decoy to divert their attention and finish them off while they were frisking and kicking the civilians and exposing their backs.


No SWAT member was seen on video watching or checking the upper portion of the walls inside the waiting area where they first entered while shouting and aiming their long firearms at civilians inside the lighted room where the main office and announcer's booth were located. 
In that scenario, they were like sitting ducks or stationary targets. In actual combat, they would have walked in to their instant death if enemies applied the "quick kill" method in point shooting. 
"For better behavior, the SWAT men in Iloilo City deserve to rejoin the Boy Scouts of the Philippines," wrote Herbert Vego of Panay News. 
With their erratic performance, even the Boy Scouts of the Philippines would never accept them. Boy Scouts are known for their motto of "laging handa" or always prepared. The SWAT men who attacked Aksyonradyo Iloilo 720 appeared to be "laging handa" -- to be exterminated and to embarrass the police as institution.


Meanwhile, Senior Supt. Ruperto Floro, PNP city director, and other arrogant police superiors who justified the SWAT raid will have their hands full once the Senate and House start their respective inquiries on the incident. 
We don't know how they can wiggle out from the tumult where the barbarity and excessive use of force they applied on unarmed employees and the security guard (kicked several times like a hardened criminal despite being down on the floor), was seen on CCTV camera now being viewed even in foreign lands via social media.
The video exposed the incompetence of SWAT men in handling a simple call for police assistance when several gang members sought refuge in the radio station after being shot in a rumble in a nearby night spot. When gang members, some of them wounded, left the station to "surrender" to responding cops from the Mandurriao Police Precinct who arrived downstairs, the SWAT men suddenly swooped down on the station's main office and exposed their mediocrity and barbaric act for all the world to see.
And Supt. Floro and his ilk had the gall to justify the operation.

Monday, August 26, 2013

SWAT raid on Aksyonradyo Iloilo: 'Damning' evidence captured on CCTV

How CCTV captures 
a 'damning' evidence 

"Video killed the radio star," a song by THE BUGGLES

By Alex P. Vidal

We owe Marie Van Brittan Brown a gratitude for giving the world the closed-circuit television (CCTV) system. Because of this invention, we are able to solve some of the most gruesome crimes captured by video cameras installed in specific areas at home, offices, streets, and other public places.
CCTV system, first installed by Siemens AG at Test Stand VII in Peenemunde, Germany in 1942, has helped authorities unravel some crime mysteries -- murders, burglaries, robbery-holdups, rapes, abuses by nannies and domestic employers, traffic altercations, vehicular mishaps, gang-related violence, and even street brawls and muggings.
Because of CCTV system, the raid conducted by the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) on the radio station of Aksyonradyo Iloilo 720 on August 25, was captured and can now be used as evidence in the criminal and administrative cases the station management is preparing to file against the team, composed reportedly of neophyte policemen from the Iloilo City Police Office.


Technology indeed is awesome. The video that showed armed SWAT men swooping down on the station was a "damning" evidence and its immediate release to public through social media prevented the raiders from concocting stories and possibly planting evidence to justify the use of excessive force like kicking an unarmed security guard already down on all four and asking employees to strip, among other unnecessary acts of police brutality.
And once the video taken from CCTV monitor has been uploaded to the Youtube and "shared" in Facebook and Twitter, it can go viral thus making it impossible for offenders, who may wish to suppress the evidence, to erase or delete it.
Brown, born in Queens, New York and died at the age of 76 on February 2, 1999, invented the home security system with patent number 3,482,03 granted in 1969. Her system had a set of four peep holes and a camera that could slide up and down to look at each one. Anything and everything the camera picked up would appear on a monitor. Also, a resident could unlatch the door by remote control.


German engineer Walter Bruch was responsible for the technological design and installation of the system which became commercially available in the United States in 1949. Major thoroughfares in Metro Manila and in many parts of the country are now equipped with CCTV system. Crimes have been solved through the help of the video surveillance gadget. 
The Iloilo City Council, in fact, has enacted an ordinance that requires business establishments to install CCTV systems in the wake of a series of robberies that rocked the metropolis last year and this year.
The most recent analysis conducted by the Northeastern University and the University of Cambridge revealed the following: Surveillance systems were most effective in parking lots, where their use resulted in a 51% decrease in crime; public transportation areas saw a 23% decrease in crimes; systems in public settings were the least effective, with just a 7% decrease in crimes overall. 
When sorted by country, however, systems in the United Kingdom accounted for the majority of the decrease; the drop in other areas was insignificant.


A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.

For a potent triumvirate, add good manners and right conduct.


If you smile when no one else is around, you really mean it.

Many of us who smile in any crowded place also mean it if we do it as a gesture of friendship. If we smile--and even laugh-- while watching a horror film inside the mental hospital, we also mean it, with or without someone around.


Man should forget his anger before he lies down to sleep.

In case of any untoward incident while sleeping, gatekeepers of heaven or hell will think twice before opening the gates to welcome a potential troublemaker.


You can't stay married in a situation where you are afraid to go to sleep in case your wife might cut your throat.

Good if she cuts your throat so you can permanently go to the kingdom come without further pain and agony. If she cuts only your penis and you survive, its like living in hell on earth for the rest of your life.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Waiting for Godot

"But that is not the question. Why are we here, that is the question. And we are blessed in this, that we happen to know the answer. Yes, in this immense confusion one thing alone is clear. We are waiting for Godot to come."  SAMUEL BECKETT

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- Playwright Samuel Beckett demonstrated in the play, Waiting for Godot, the value of listening to the silences in conversations.
The play depicts the meaninglessness of life -- with its repetitive plot, where nothing much happens. Voted "the most significant English language play of the 20th century", Waiting for Godot is Beckett's translation of his own original French version, En attendant Godot, and is subtitled (in English only), "a tragicomedy in two acts". 
Silence is a special place we must go to regularly. It is a grace that nurtures, heals, reveals, and renews. "No spiritual exercise is as good as that of silence," counsels St. Seraphim of Sarov.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a servant of the poor, states that "God is the friend of silence. See how nature--trees, flowers, grass--grow in silence? The more we receive in silent prayer, the more we can give in our active life." Silence animates compassion and sets in motion the service of others.


"Silence stands outside the worlds of profit and utility. It cannot be exploited for profit; you cannot get anything out of it. It is 'unproductive,' therefore it is regarded as useless. Yet there is more help and healing in silence than in all useful things," Max Picard puts it.
Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilk once counseled: "Our task is to listen to the news that is always arriving out of silence."
According to the plot of Waiting for Godot, a pair of vagrant men, Vladimir and Estragon, diverted themselves while waiting for the arrival of a man named Godot (Beckett had denied that Godot was God saying "it is just implied in the text, but it's not true.), whom they only know by reputation, on a vague pretense. They philosophize, sleep, argue, sing, exercise, swap hats, and consider suicide --anything "to hold the terrible silence at bay" to occupy the time.


Godot is not Beckett’s best play, but it is his most famous and probably his most entertaining, according to the Globe and Mail. "The degree to which the vaudevillian schtick -- from falling pants to fart jokes -- Vladimir and Estragon engage in to pass the time continues to amuse, in a time when vaudeville is long dead, is always a pleasant surprise. It is not what you’d call succinct, however. And Beckett’s poetry is best treated with a light touch; Dennehy’s performance as Pozzo -- fierce, howling, beast-like -- demonstrates how the words collapse if you hit them too hard," writes The Globe and Mail's J. Kelly Nestruck.
Frost's Meditations reports that many ingenious theories have been advanced to provide satisfactory interpretations for the characters of Beckett's play. Religious or mythical interpretations prevail. The two tramps Estragon (Gogo) and Vladimir (Didi) may be Everyman and his conscience. Gogo is less confident and at one moment is ready to hang himself. Vladimir is more hopeful, more even in temperament. 


"One thinks of the medieval debate between the body and the soul, between the intellectual and the non-rational in man. Certain of their speeches about Christ might substantiate the theory that they are the two crucified thieves. Pozzo would seem to be the evil master, the exploiter," says Frost's Meditations. "But perhaps he is Godot, or an evil incarnation of Godot. The most obvious interpretation of Godot is that he is God. As the name Pierrot comes from Pierre, so Godot may come from God. (One thinks also of the combination of God and Charlot, the name used by the French for Charlie Chaplin.)"
The play was often considered by philosophical and literary scholars to be part of the movement of the Theatre of the Absurd, a form of theatre which stemmed from the Absurdist philosophy of Albert Camus. Absurdism itself is a branch of the traditional assertions of existentialism, pioneered by Soren Kierkegaard, and posits that, while inherent meaning might very well exist in the universe, human beings are incapable of finding it due to some form of mental or philosophical limitation. Thus humanity is doomed to be faced with the Absurd, or the absolute absurdity of existence in lack of intrinsic purpose.


Kierkegaard had accused contemporary philosophy of wasting too much time on "essences," the supposed underlying realities and universal laws of the world. Not only are such things dubious, focusing on them diverts attention from real problems, such as how we as individuals can make decisions.
Beckett summed up the absurdity of life in one of his most quotably bleak metaphors: “They give birth astride of a grave, the light gleams an instant, and then it’s night once more.”


Do not overrate what you have received, nor envy others. He who envies others does not obtain peace of mind.

Let's be satisfied with what he have and refrain from dwelling on our failures and what we don't have in life. Instead, let's count our blessings.


Peace of mind comes from not wanting to change others.

Before thinking of changing others, we must change ourselves first. Charity begins at home--nay self!


He is rich or poor according to what he is, not according to what he has.

We are part of the wealth of the universe if we are rich in spiritual emolument even if we have less in life. We constitute the dregs of the universe if we are spiritually amiss even if we have abundance in life. 


In the Lord's Prayer, the first petition is for daily bread. No one can worship God or love his neighbor on an empty stomach.

God won't begrudge it if we fill our stomach first before reciting the Lord's Prayer and thinking about the welfare of others. The Lord's Prayer -- or any prayer for that matter -- will flow freely in the tongue if there is stability in our digestive system. 


Do not worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older it will avoid you.

Temptation is like a pimp. It does not pick clients according to extent of damage in their skin's beautification program or degree of "kulokot" and Moonraker holes in their faces, as long as they carry a wad of bills and smell the aroma of cash.



The more we are filled with thoughts of lust the less we find true romantic love.

Lust is the monkey business of the tiny bubble between our legs. Romance is the get-together party of the heart.


Too many women throw themselves into romance because they're afraid of being single, then start making compromises and losing their identity. I won't do that.

If you want to remain single forever do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Floyd duel used to prop up Pacquiao vs Rios publicity

"Boxing is like jazz. The better it is, the less people appreciate it." GEORGE FOREMAN 

By Alex P. Vidal

To promote Manny Pacquiao's November 24 fight against Brandon Lee Rios (31-1, 23 KOs) in Macau, publicists have been busy dragging the name of Floyd Mayweather Jr. in press releases in a hope to generate worldwide attention.
Although Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 KOs) is a global figure in sports, Rios is just a passenger in the economy class. 
The good-looking bonecrusher from Oxnard, California isn't Roger Federer or Michael Schumacher who could draw a large crowd even without a need to hire expensive PR outfits. 
He is no David Beckham who could fill up empty seats and boost popcorn sales.
Aside from banking heavily on the multi-million-dollar duel, a run-of-the-mill WBO international welterweight championship, investors are also promoting the glitzy Venetian Resort, one of Macau's famous hotels known for its European architecture. 
Pacquiao, 34, and Rios, 27, will trade bombs for 12 rounds at the Cotai Arena. 
The fight has been drumbeated as Pacquiao's "comeback" bid after an embarrassing sixth round KO loss to Juan Manuel Marquez (55-6, 40 KOs) on December 8, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Both Pacquiao and Rios are crownless and will be disputing the fringe belt intentionally put up to deodorize the promotion or to "legitimize" the word "championship." The fight actually will not upgrade the status of neither boxer--except for Rios who will definitely become a household name aside from bringing home a largess after the fight -- win or lose.
A win over Rios can not give Pacquiao, a second-termer congressman from Mindanao, a mandatory permit to fight the 34-year-old Mayweather (44-0, 26 KOs), who is busy preparing for this WBC and WBA 152-lb rumble versus Saul Alvarez (42-0, 30) on September 14 in Las Vegas.
Mayweather, in a most recent statement, has categorically stated that "Me and Pacquiao had a chance to make a fight in the past, and basically that's the best place I'd like to leave it (in the past). "As of right now, I'm not really thinking of Pacquiao. Good luck to whatever he's doing. He handled his career like he handled his career, and I handled my career like I handled my career."


The American black fighter has dismissed the Filipino ringster as "has been".  Mayweather, an ex-convict, chortled: "How are things today? He's not going to get a chance to fight me. I was feeling that way weeks ago. Now I'm feeling like I wouldn't even give him a chance. He had a chance, he blew it, so that's what it is."
Even Marquez, who will fight Timothy Bradley in October, doesn't see Pacquiao in his radar in the event he rolls past Bradely. Because of Pacquiao's bad fall, a fifth match with Pacquiao is not a bankable idea. It won't hit pay dirt especially that father time has beckoned for both Marquez and Pacquiao; and promoters are very much aware of this, especially Top Rank boss Bob Arum. 
Calls have been made in the past for the richest Filipino professional athlete to retire and preserve his lofty status in the marquee game, but they all fell on deaf ears. Until Pacquiao's myth was tainted on a controversial split decision loss to Bradley (30-0, 12 KOs) on June 9, 2012. Until Marquez bludgeoned him on a brutal stoppage that nearly forced him to end his fistic career.


Wealthy and famous--and a member of the House of Representatives to boot, Pacquiao will continue to defy logic by keeping himself busy in the ring despite reaping unmatched accolades in his many years of fame and glory in the square jungle capped by having been honored by American scribes and promoters as the greatest boxer pound-for-pound next to Muhammad Ali.
A loss to Rios will not only sink Pacquiao's reputation lower, he will join the rank of hitherto undisputed kings in prizefighting business whose reputations were badly shaken and impaired after defying nature and refusing to read the handwriting on the wall.

Journalist spearheads Ombud petition to resolve 'pork' cases with dispatch

Journalist spearheads Ombud petition 
to resolve 'pork' cases with dispatch

"In a state where corruption abounds, laws must be very numerous." TACITUS 

By Alex P. Vidal

An Iloilo-based journalist and former official of the provincial government has launched an on-line petition asking Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to resolve cases in the P10 billion "pork barrel" scam involving high government officials in less than one year.
Stating that "delays are a cause of injustice and deepens the culture of impunity for corruption," Manuel Mejorada posted the petition on change.or  (
Mejorada, inducted by Pres. Corazon Aquino as president of the Iloilo Press and Radio Club in 1990, stated in his petition, to wit: "WHEREAS, the media exposes on the P10 Billion Pork Barrel Scam involving Senators, Congress People and NGOs put up by Janet Lim-Napoles have rocked the entire nation, causing grief, shock and anger among its citizens over this grand theft of the public treasury in a country where more than 70% of its people live in abject poverty; 
"WHEREAS, such corruption have taken deep root in the country’s institutions over a period of time, and the perpetrators have grown emboldened to continue with their activities under the “Matuwid na Daan” government of President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III because only a handful have been prosecuted and convicted; 
"WHEREAS, while due process is a sacred right for those accused, complainants, too, are entitled to see a speedy and just resolution of their grievances and complaints, and the delays in the resolution of cases which often take years in the Office of the Ombudsman tilt the balance in favor of the corrupt; 
"WHEREAS, it is not only the complainants who are affected by the unreasonable delays in the conduct of preliminary investigations by the Office of the Ombudsman, but the respondents as well if they are innocent of the charges, because for as long as the cases are pending, they hang over the heads like swords of Damocles; 
"WHEREAS, the most effective deterrent to corruption is swift punishment for those who are guilty without giving up their right to due process; 
"WHEREAS, in many instances, elected officials are absolved of their offenses and go-scot free from their administrative liabilities because of the delays that result in the cases being overtaken by their re-election, in which case the Aguinaldo doctrine set down by the Supreme Court becomes applicable; 
"WHEREAS, the basic principle of the Rule of Law is jeopardized by these delays, and there is now an urgent need for the Office of the Ombudsman to impose deadlines on the resolution of cases that are brought before this Honorable Body; 
"NOW, WHEREFORE, we respectfully PETITION the Honorable Conchita Carpio-Morales to impose a deadline for One (1) Year from the time the issues are joined and resolve the cases based on the evidence on record; at no instance should the cases go beyond a period of three (3) years from the time of filing.  (Signed) Manuel P. Mejorada Villa San Lorenzo Subd. Lapaz, Iloilo City" 


Fame. Wealth. Grandeur. Victory. What's the use if our house is not a home? Good looks. Good body. Good attire. Good position. What's the use if our character sucks and our soul decays?


There is no witness so terrible and no accuser so powerful as conscience which dwells within us.

Conscience is our soul's in-house lawyer that conducts cross-examination in the trial court of our cognitive habitat.


We create our own unhappiness. The purpose of suffering is to help us understand we are the ones who cause it.

God, in all His infinite wisdom, has given us the freedom of conscience and freedom to decide on two choices which He will never interfere: to be happy or to be unhappy. It's our personal call.


Happiness is not a reward - it is a consequence. Suffering is not a punishment - it is a result.

Contentment is not a purpose - it is an effect. Satisfaction is not a choice - it is the absolute.


Never run from the enemy, tackle them. 

Negotiate for peace and seek a win-win standoff--or face them squarely and finish them off. 


A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than much knowledge that is idle. 

Little or much, knowledge should be used to benefit mankind as a whole. It isn't knowledge if measured by its quantity and possessed only by pagans, thugs, pimps, and bloodsuckers.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Why afraid of The Hite Report? (PG13)

"Parents aren't sex education experts just because they are parents." PEPPER SCHWARTZ

By Alex P. Vidal

I personally don't see anything wrong if we allow students even in religious campuses to read The Hite Report. Although it is seemingly archaic, its contents about female sexuality are still very much relevant in today's debates among the pros and cons of sexuality education.
But the late chemist and preacher Edwin Almendras won in his call to support the stand of a Catholic school in Iloilo to ban The Hite Report from its campus and to dissuade both the teachers and students from reading the book "in order not to corrupt their young minds and to discourage sexual subordination."
"The book promotes sexual promiscuity and lesbianism," Almendras protested. "If we hope to educate the young about sex, encouraging them to read The Hite Report should be our last recourse."
The Hite Report on Female Sexuality actually challenged the sexual status quo and defied male dominance. It became a worldwide publishing sensation, and even turned its author into a hate figure among some men.


There are articles in the book that contradicted the research done by famous sexologists, Masters and Johnson, which incorporated cultural attitudes on sexual behavior, observed Almendras.
Masters and Johnson sustained the argument that enough clitoral stimulation to achieve orgasm should be provided by thrusting during intercourse, and the inference that the failure of this is a sign of female "sexual dysfunction."   
Society must understand the cultural and personal construction of sexual experience to make the research relevant to sexual behavior outside the laboratory, insisted Shere Hite, the book author. She offered that limiting test subjects to "normal" women who report orgasming during coitus was basing research on the faulty assumption that having an orgasm during coitus was typical, something that her own research strongly refuted.
Almendras' call gained support from Jesuit priests who run the school. Another school in Negros Occidental associated with the Iloilo-based Catholic school, adopted the ban and cited Almendras for helping "remove a disease, abscessed appendix, from the learning of the students." The school was not only against The Hite Report, it was now also against sex education to be tackled in school. 


Almendras and his backers, one of them a St. Therese Parish priest, called as "completely erroneous" the idea that if we remove sex education, it will create a vacuum in the educational process since it is an integral part of teaching and learning.
They argued that "sex education is not like reading or writing or other essential skills that have to be taught. Nature never intended for children to go to school to learn how to mate. And nature never intended that children should be taught from a book how to feel affection."
(The Washington Times, in an article written by Thomas Sowell dated May 17, 1988, reported that "What makes 'sex education' a fraud is that its whole thrust is not science but propaganda for new sexual attitudes and lifestyles. It would not take a week, much less a semester, to teach young people the basic biological facts of life. What takes so much time is slowly but steadily undermining the values their parents have taught them and replacing these values with new attitudes that accept adultery, abortion, homosexuality and the rest of the secular religion that calls 'sex education'.")
There are opinions, however, that consider sex education as "beneficial". School-based sexuality education programs conducted by specially trained education can add an important dimension to children's ongoing sexual learning, theorized Debra Haffner and Diane deMauro of the Sex Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS).


They suggested that programs should be developmentally appropriate and include such issues as self-esteem, family relationships, parenting, friendships, values, communication techniques, dating and decision-making skills. Programs must be carefully planned by each community in order to respect the diversity of values and beliefs present in a classroom, they argued.
Meanwhile, the author's biography detailed some revealing information: "Feminist and sexologist Shirley Diana Gregory -- better known as Shere Hite -- grew up in America’s bible belt, but her research into sexuality scandalized the whole country. In her report, she posited a radical and utterly far-out theory: that women didn't need men to give them an orgasm. From the time of Freud, it was widely accepted that women could only climax through penetrative sex -- 'the great male thrust' -- and if they couldn't, there must be something wrong with them. For frustrated women faking orgasm, the report was a godsend, alerting women to their own sexual power, and informing men of the existence of the clitoris."

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Not wise to 'anger' Defensor before 2016

Not wise to 'anger' 
Defensor before 2016

"Look around. There are no enemies here. There's just good, old-fashioned rivalry."  BOB WELLS 

By Alex P. Vidal

The Garin political dynasty led by its patriarch, Oscar Sr., drew first blood in their seemingly deteriorating tie-up with Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr., when they defied the governor in the recent election of the Philippine Councilors League (PCL)-Iloilo Chapter.
While Defensor went all-out for the winner, Paulino Parian of Janiuay, the Garins reportedly backed Paolo Guanco of Pototan logistically and otherwise. Parian edged Guanco, 206 to 203 or only by three votes.
To add gasoline to conflagration, Rep. Ricard Jr. blamed Defensor for not giving the clan "usual courtesy on the matter." The young Garin rued in a Daily Guardian report dated August 15, 2013 that "We (the Garins) also sacrificed for him (Defensor)." They were not aware, the young Garin claimed, that Defensor would field Parian in the eleventh hour when they thought all the while it was Guanco whom the coalition had agreed to support. Both Parian and Guanco are LP bets.


Although it was Garin Jr. who did most of the PCL post mortem sermon on Defensor in media recently while Garin Sr. and the rest of the clan appeared reluctant to release their spleen, any hard-line political statement from one clan member is seen as the clan's "official" statement.
We can't blame the Garins if they want to wrest control of top executive positions in the provincial hierarchy. PCL, like the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP)-Iloilo Chapter, is a major organization with more or less 500 members province-wide.
If another Garin, Guimbal Mayor Christine, will capture the LMP presidency in another election scheduled soon, the most powerful political clan in the first district of Iloilo will be a cinch away to catapult Oscar Sr. into the gubernatorial seat in 2016.


The Garins have tasted power in almost all the elected and important appointed offices, except the office of the governor. They have been unbeatable in the congressional and provincial board tussles. They have awesome dominions over various municipal government units. Garin Jr. himself had served as vice governor. They have been everywhere--in the Philippine Coconut Authority, Department of Health, House sectoral reprentation, to name only a few. To capture capitol in 2016 would be the icing on the cake.
But along the way they face major roadblocks. Mayor Garin's coronation as LMP chief to replace outgoing president, Anilao Mayor Maria Theresa “Matet” Debuque, is now in peril. Defensor, unhappy over the recent PCL tumult, is poised to supporting either Mina Mayor Rey Grabato or Barotac Viejo Mayor Niel “Beng” Tupas III, son of former governor Niel Tupas Sr.


The LMP is the biggest organization in the local government in terms of power and influence. In any tight rivalry for governor during the elections, LMP plays a pivotal role. After failing to bag the PCL throne, the Garins can't afford to kiss goodbye the LMP presidency. The recent PCL fracas should serve as the barometer of how tremendous is the influence they wield on municipal officials. 
"Angering" Defensor at this early or three years away from the next local elections should be the Garins' last option.
If the Tupases, perhaps the strongest political clan in the entire province today, will seize the LMP presidency and preserve their cordial relationship with Defensor owing to their strong ties in the Liberal Party (LP), Oscar "Oca" Garin Sr. would be hard-pressed to win the gubernatorial post in 2016. Vice Governor Raul "Buboy" Tupas could be a dark horse and give the senior Garin a nightmare.
The grapevine says it is not wise to bang heads with the incumbent governor over sensitive political issues and major undertakings at this early if the Garins want to breeze their way smoothly to capitol. 
On the other hand, as a matter of political strategy and survival, they should start distancing themselves albeit slowly from the capitol and cultivate their own political garden. After all, there are no permanent friends in politics; only permanent interests.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013



"Playing the game, and unfortunately, playing the gangster game is very profitable." QUINCY JONES 

By Alex P. Vidal

A gambler and womanizer, Niccolo is one of the most brilliant Ilonggo orators who never won a formal award. Senate President Frank Drilon admires his brains but not his temper. 
After an ugly incident in the lobby of one hotel where Niccolo called the politician "gago" or dumb (I was present when the incident happened) many years back, Drilon will never give attention to Niccolo anymore.
Loquacious and arrogant, Niccolo could shrink an adversary with a mean and tiger look even without saying a word. The nephew of a former city hall department chief vowed to castrate Niccolo if he has a chance. The young man was brandishing a 12-inch bolo when he aired the threat. He was present when Niccolo mercilessly annihilated his basketball buddies in a bloody showdown of characters with hot temper. "He was the one who really did it," swore the young man amid tears. "I can never forget his face."


Niccolo doesn't trust characters who ride in motorcycle in tandem. "I'm always two steps ahead. I don't want my friends to miss me permanently," he chortled seriously. "(my) mission is not yet accomplished." He did not elaborate.
Niccolo wanted to organize a group that will preserve Filipino dialects other than Tagalog. "We should be proud to use and speak our own dialect. If we are Cebuanos, we must speak in Cebuano. If we are Ilonggos, we must be proud to speak in Hiligaynon. No Filipino outside the Imperial Manila should have inferiority complex only because his tongue can't pronounce a Tagalog word," Niccolo insisted.
His advocacy gained popularity when he went to Guam in the mid-90's, but abandoned the crusade when his best friend, now semi-blind and living like a pauper, bungled a court battle and lost a real estate fortune.

Niccolo's life-long ambition is to make it to the constitutional assembly "so I can help repair the defects in our constitution." Niccolo said he is saddened that mediocre characters are now the dominant characters in the Senate and House of Representatives "because of the defects in our electoral system. There is really an urgent need to amend the constitution so that public office will be protected from incompetent characters," he said. 
In a chance meeting at the grocery section of SM City recently, Niccolo placed his right arm around me and silently appealed, "Stop carrying the issue about 'Bogart'. Just tackle other issues."  
Back in February 1992, when our house was razed by fire, he arrived in a dilapidated car and gave us rice. I haven't asked him about his livelihood, but he always carried bundles in his pocket. He is no Robin Hood though, but his benevolence is not a secret to objects of his carnal desires.
One time, he removed one of the four gold rings in his fingers and gave it to a courteous saleslady in a downtown shopping center when the saleslady greeted him "good morning, sir" with a smile. They became "friends".
He is Niccolo, a mysterious Lothario who loves Elvis Presley songs.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


'Bogart also wanted me killed'

"I wasn't aware of it at the time, but I was a big favorite with the Mafia." BRENDA LEE

By Alex P. Vidal

A 54-year-old former mayoral candidate could have been killed like Jimmy Punsalan if he did not stop his illegal gambling activity and fled to the United States.
"Bogart sent emissaries to convince me to stop my small-time (illegal gambling) operation," confessed the defeated mayoral bet, who fled to Arizona, USA in 2001 after receiving threats from "Bogart" and his henchmen. "I told Bogart I was broke after the election and I only wanted to regain my money thus I operated 'first two' or 'bookies' (a numbers game)."
The defeated mayoral bet, an active gun club enthusiast, said he lost in the election by about 500 votes "because I ran out of funds in the homestretch."
When he defied "Bogart's" emissaries, the defeated mayoral bet, who operated in the towns of  Leganes, Zarraga, San Miguel, and Alimodian, said it was "Bogart" himself who called him and personally asked him to stop.


When he ignored "Bogart", he received threats. "When I sensed that the threats were real, I gave my sons guns and asked them to prepare for the worst," he said in an exclusive interview.
It was when his family members, especially his wife, convinced him to "stay away from the heat" when the defeated mayoral bet decided to flee to the United States.
"My wife had been crying. She had sensed suspicious-looking men roaming around our house in the dead of the night," he narrated. "We had no peace of mind. We were always anticipating a violent attack. I was ready to face my attackers but I was worried a lot for my family."
The defeated mayoral bet, who served as municipal councilor for three terms before running for mayor in the 2001 local elections, had sought the advice of a former police provincial director, who was his buddy in the gun club, but the police director reportedly convinced him to "get out of the kitchen" for his own good and the good of his family.


"I angered Bogart because I defied him several times. Eventually, I backtracked," he admitted. "I realized I made the right decision when I stopped (my gambling operations) and silently left the country."
The defeated mayoral bet surmised "Bogart" had also warned Punsalan to stop. Punsalan had denied he dabbled in illegal gambling aside from his legitimate businesses that included a hardware and restaurant.
The former mayoral candidate said he suspected that Punsalan, president of a group of retired members of the defunct Philippine Constabulary,  wasn't intimidated and also defied "Bogart".
"Pare Jimmy could shoot," the self-exiled former politician said. "He was a good shooter and alert when it comes to actual combat. He must have lowered his defense and his attackers pounced on this weakness." 


A lone gunman, backed by a look out and a Frontier get away vehicle, sneaked inside the Boliland Complex, a chain of restaurants in Brgy. Bolilao, Mandurriao district at around 9 p.m. last August 7 and shot Punsalan, 64, with a baby Armalite riffle hitting him in the eye, neck and hand. He died before reaching the Don Benito Memorial Hospital (now West Visayas State University Hospital). Cops recovered 16 empty shells from the scene.
Task Force Punsalan, a investigation body created by the PNP to track down the killers, continued to face a blank wall. Investigators could not confirm if Punsalan was killed because of his alleged involvement in illegal gambling activity.


God pardons like a mother, who kisses the offense into everlasting forgiveness. 

Sometimes, in our saddest and most harrowing moments, when push comes to shove and we have nowhere to turn to, we see God in the image of our mothers.


It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not. 

It is easy to accept hatred from people we love after we committed a grievous sin than to be praised by our worst enemies after we committed a heroic act. 


(PG 13) The more sex you have, the more you will be offered. The sexually active body gives off greater quantities of chemicals called pheromones. These subtle sex perfumes drive the opposite sex crazy.


The life of inner peace, being harmonious and without stress, is the easiest type of existence.

The harmony of our thoughts and emotions--our internal ecology-- constitutes the breadth and permanence of our stability and peaceful coexistence.

Saturday, August 10, 2013


Did 'Bogart' approve 
Punsalan's execution?

By Alex P. Vidal

"You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone." AL CAPONE 

If our unimpeachable sources are to be believed, the cold-blooded mob-style rub-out of Jimmy Punsalan could be compared to the gangland killings that rocked Chicago in the roaring 30's where mobster boss Al  "Scarface" Capone executed both his partners in crime and rivals in illegal activities with ferocious intensity and in a macabre fashion.
Sources said Punsalan was an odd man in illegal gambling rivalries that allegedly involved the henchmen of "Bogart" or the capo di tutti capi himself. "Pare Jim", as Punsalan was known, was allegedly whacked by the group in a mob-style war over control of illegal gambling activities in the metropolis.
Sources added that Punsalan, 64, known as "Robin Hood" to his friends for always sharing his blessings, was allegedly taken out "to prevent him from spreading his tentacles" in illegal numbers game of "first two" or "bookies" that could decimate his rivals operating under "Bogart's" tutelage.


It won't hurt if investigators review the circumstances surrounding the raid in the house of a suspected gambling lord in Jaro district a few weeks back where several gambling paraphernalia and betting money worth about half million pesos were seized.  Punsalan's name surfaced as among those who allegedly tipped off authorities. 
Meanwhile, the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO6) Regional Intelligence Division and the Jaro Police Precinct, which conducted the raid, should explain to the public why they zeroed in on the house of a village chief who had a spat with former Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez Sr. but ignored other known lairs of illegal gambling activities in the city and province that are more sophisticated and more "big time".   
How often do they conduct raids? How about the other gambling joints in Molo, La Paz, Arevalo and the City Proper? Do they conduct raids according only to the behest of their superiors who have links with shady characters in the underworld?


"Bogart", known for his expensive tastes and explosive temper, himself has strong connections in the police and media. Rogue cops and unscrupulous mediamen look up to "Bogart" as all-season Santa Claus. He was never indicted of any crime even if his nefarious activities are already common knowledge. During election time, "Bogart" is a friend both of politicians, who run for public office, and thugs who act as the politicians' bogeymen.
By using baby Armalite riffles and treachery, the killers, believed to be hired hit men, made sure Punsalan would not survive.  Punsalan, who always carried a short firearm, would have engaged his attackers in a fierce gun-battle had he anticipated the sneak attack.  An assassin with a short firearm wouldn't dare cross Punsalan's path as he was known to be a good shooter being a former member of the defunct Philippine Constabulary. The hit men must have also learned that Punsalan was always accompanied by his fellow Rotarian and best friend, Frank Atas, himself a sharp-shooter, every time he had dinner in a small shanty adjacent the Papa Jim Sea Bounty, Punsalan's restaurant inside the complex; thus they assaulted Punsalan when Atas was not around. 


Punsalan would not leave his house in Brgy. Cubay, Jaro without a gun. A few years ago, he lost an expensive .45 caliber colt and cash from "bukas kotse" gang when he failed to lock his car at the parking lot of SM City.
The group that terminated Punsalan must have planned the hit for several weeks and was able to finally find a perfect opportunity when there were few customers present in his eatery in the Boliland Garden in Brgy. Bolilao, Mandurriao district at about 9 pm last August 7.  
Underworld characters in one particular jurisdiction know each other very well.  In the St. Valentine's Day massacre in 1929, seven well-dressed henchmen of George "Bugs" Moran, Capone's rival, were lined up against a wall, with their backs to their executioners and shot to death in a "take-no-prisoner" fashion because they probably knew their killers. 
Gangster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel was murdered in his Hollywood mansion 66 years ago by East Coast mob cronies who suspected him of skimming from the $6-million Flamingo Hotel casino in Las Vegas. 
Did the people who wanted Punsalan eliminated consult boss "Bogart"? If they did, either "Bogart" rejected the project but the conspirators defied him, or he "did not want to be part of it". Or did "Bogart" himself, to protect the interest of his own empire, order the rub out?  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Murder of Jimmy Punzalan

By Alex P. Vidal

The place where ex-army constable and prominent Iloilo contractor Jimmy Punzalan was murdered about 9 pm last August 7, was dimly-lit and a perfect crime scene.  
It was there where I last saw him around 7:30 in the evening weeks before his assailants peppered him with bullets believed to be coming from baby armalite riffles. Punzalan was pronounced dead on arrival at the Don Benito Memorial Hospital in Jaro district with gunshot wounds in the head and hand.
The shooting reportedly occurred near the parking area, at the back of his kiosk-typed seafood restaurant, Papa Jim Sea Bounty, in the Boliland Garden in Brgy. Bolilao, Mandurriao district.
In that chance meeting, Punzalan, 64, a friend since way back during the time of Mayor Mansueto Malabor in the 90's, informed me he owned the first of the multi-door eatery garden. He just arrived from a regular coffee session with friends at SM City.


As of this writing, Mandurriao police probers led by deputy chief, Seniro Insp. Nestor Santasierra, were still piecing the puzzles and gathering testimonies of witnesses. A cashier in his restaurant, Shirly Cortez, 38, was also treated in the hospital for bullet wound in the side of her body.  
Several angles surfaced hours after Punsalan was declared dead by attending physicians.  As incumbent president of the Philippine Constabulary (PC) Association of Western Visayas, Punsalan, who owned the Brumax Construction hardware in Brgy. Cubay, Jaro, had connections in the police and military as well as big politicians. He was a close ally of former Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, Sr. and Malabor.
One time when I interviewed Antique Rep. Exequiel Javier, brother of assassinated former Gov. Evelio, he took a deep breath and murmured unprintable when he heard Punzalan's name. 
Punzalan was one of the two men mentioned by Oscar Tiauson, accused-turned-witness in the Javier killing on Feb. 6, 1986, who brought M-16 and Browning automatic riffles to the house of then Assemblyman Arturo Pacificador. Punzalan denied the allegation and was cleared in the brutal political killing that helped trigger the EDSA Revolution that toppled Marcos.   
Among the angles being pursued by investigators in Punzalan's murder were "vendetta" and "personal grudges". 


Even if he was associated with Gonzalez and Malabor, Punzalan also had ties with other politicians; thus, he never had serious enmity with political personalities. 
Sources said Punzalan earned the ire of a not-so-prominent gambling lord whose residence was recently raided by elements of the Police Regional Office 6’s Regional Intelligence Division. 
The gambling lord also had a falling out with Gonzalez, whose son, Raul Jr. ran and lost to Rep. Jerry Trenas in the recent elections. The gambling lord reportedly backed Trenas. Punzalan was reportedly suspected as one of those who tipped off authorities about the illegal gambling activities. Other angles are business and personal motives.
Punzalan was also a cockfighting aficionado and a habitue of known cockpit areas in and outside the city.  
He had friends from all walks of life, so to speak, because of his "Robin Hood" style. "He eats with friends and shares his blessings," quipped one media character, who was a regular beneficiary of his benevolence.