Saturday, February 25, 2017

Linking Mayor Mabilog to illegal drug trade a mistake

"There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory."
--Josh Billings

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- President Rodrigo Duterte linked anew Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog to the illegal drug trade not because an evidence has been found to support the president's first accusation.
If Mabilog has become Mr. Duterte's favorite punching bag each time he lambasted local chief executives involved in illegal drugs, it's because the city mayor is the cousin of Senator Franklin Drilon, an opposition leader and chief supporter of Duterte's rival in the recent presidential race, Mar Roxas.
In absence of any damning evidence, it is becoming apparent that Mabilog is only a collateral damage in the feud between the president and the Liberal Party bigwigs.
Mabilog's critics took advantage of his closeness to Drilon and linked him to illegal drug trade even if there was no corpus delicti to support the slanderous accusation.


President Duterte remembered Mabilog's name in a speech during the turnover of a drug rehabilitation facility in Davao del Norte February 24. He bewailed, "Naay mayor ug mga syudad. Ang usa diha ig-agaw ni Drilon, si Mayor Mabilog sa Iloilo City, ug daghan pa (The list also contains names of city mayors. One of them is Drilon's cousin, Mayor Mabilog of Iloilo City, and many others)."
I personally don't believe that Mabilog is engaged in business or protection racket of illegal drugs.
Mabilog's enemies may have used his "friendship" with suspected drug pusher Jingjing Espinosa, a barangay councilman, as the basis to include his name in the so-called "Duterlist" that contains the names of mayors, governors, policemen, judges, lawyers, and showbiz personalities allegedly involved in narco-politics.
Many times in the past the president erred in mentioning some names and their affiliations. The president once erroneously announced that Mabilog is the "cousin" of slain drug lord Melvin "Boyet" Odicta.


Mr. Duterte was probably referring to Drilon, but mistakenly mentioned Odicta's name.
Espinosa, grandson of former Rep. Pascualing Espinosa Sr., reportedly became Mabilog's political ally when the city mayor upset the late former Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez in the May 2010 mayoral contest.
There were fears that Gonzalez hired the services of priest killer Norberto Manero during the campaign period. 
Espinosa, who is now back in Iloilo jail for an old frustrated homicide case, was reportedly seen as an effective antidote to neutralize any threat that may have been posed by Manero a.k.a. Kumander Bukay.  
But after Mabilog secured reelection wins over Rommel Ynion in 2013 and Dr. Gold Gonzalez in 2016, Espinosa was still reportedly visible in Mabilog's camp even if Manero was no longer around.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Gigi, Mia, Leila fall before the 'Ides of March'

"Destiny is a good thing to accept when it's going your way. When it isn't, don't call it destiny; call it injustice, treachery, or simple bad luck."
-- Joseph Heller

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- Year of the Fire Rooster proved to be disastrous for three lady lawyers in the Philippines, as they were waylaid one after the other in a series of bad lucks that unraveled before the "Ides of March."
Of the three, Manuelita “Mia” Mascariñas-Green, 49, suffered the most as she was brutally killed by gunmen in front of her three children inside a car in Bohol on February 15.
Investigations showed that Mascariñas-Green's murder was work-related and the suspects, including the mastermind, have been identified.
Two others--Jessica Lucila "Gig" Reyes, 53, and Senator Leila Norma Eulalia Josefa Magistrado de Lima a.k.a. Leila De Lima, 57 -- are both in jail and accused of non-bailable crimes.


The Sandiganbayan has denied Reyes' motion to quash her plunder charge over the pork barrel scam, paving the way for the plunder trial. 
Reye is the former chief-of-staff of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile reportedly with strong links to "pork barrel queen" Janet Napoles.
De Lima, No. 1 critic of President Rodrigo Duterte's alleged involvement in extra-judicial killings (EJK), is facing drug-related charges. She became the administration's "first political prisoner", according to her lawyer Jose Diokno.
While Mascariñas-Green's sensational killing got less attention from national media, De Lima's quarrel with President Duterte has been known all over the world and being watched by human rights advocates who believed that the lady senator is a victim of "political persecution" for opposing the hard-hitting president.


The "Ides of March" is a day on the Roman calendar that corresponds to March 15, the day when Roman Emperor Julius Caesar was assassinated in the Senate by senators led by Brutus and Cassius in 44 B.C.
Because of what happened to Caesar, we have been always warned to listen to the soothsayer as "Ides of March" approaches.
We have been alerted that the year 2017 of the Fire Rooster "will be full of positive events and very good news, career progress and profitable businesses for those born in the year of the Dragon."
During this year, the Snake natives are going to stand out professionally and be promoted, the Chinese Horoscope warned.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Iloilo police 'task force' once linked to EJK

"Even in killing men, observe the rules of propriety."

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- Even before the alleged Davao Death Squad (DDS) terrorized criminals in Davao City, the territory of President Rodrigo Duterte, a police "task force" in Iloilo City was already making headlines in the late 80's and early 90's for links to the now infamous tagline "extra-judicial killing" or EJK.
The dreaded "Task Force Iron Eagle" led by one Colonel Rolando Maclang, operated under the tutelage of the Metrodistrict Police Command (Metrodiscom), now Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO).
Maclang had been convicted for the kidnapping and murder of a woman Filipino-Chinese cockfighting habitue, Roberta "Obing" Cocjin, and is now serving a jail term in the New Bilibid Prison.  
Bodies of EJK victims were mostly dumped in the now Sen. Benigno Aquino Avenue, formerly known as Iloilo Diversion Road when it was still grassy, muddy and dark. 
Under the watch of the late former city councilor Achilles Plagata, Metrodiscom earned notoriety for alleged involvement in EJKs where the victims were mostly thieves, rapists, drug pushers, and members of the underworld. 


Plagata was a former police colonel who became a city councilor in the 90's after his retirement. He was swashbuckling and tough-talking and had no mercy for criminals. 
Well-loved and feared by police scalawags, he could have been "Iloilo City's Rodrigo Duterte" had he ran and won for city mayor.
Like Duterte, Plagata also used cuss words and diatribes to torment bad elements in society. 
His mere presence in police offices would strike fear in the hearts of lousy policemen who got dressed down like kindergarten pupils.
Task Force Iron Eagle crossed my mind when I leaned that alleged former executioner, retired SPO3 Arturo Lascañas, corroborated the testimony of fellow hitman Edgar Matobato linking President Duterte to the so-called DDS.
When Plagata retired in police service until his stint as elected city official, nobody from among his former henchmen ratted against their former operations.
In other words, Plagata took good care all his minions even during his civilian life.  
The likes of Lascañas and Matobato were unheard of during Plagata's "reign of terror."

Monday, February 20, 2017

We mourn Boy Mejorada's conviction for libel

 "If you call your opponent a politician, it's grounds for libel."
 --Mark Russell

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- As a community journalist, I am personally saddened by the decision of Pasay City, Philippines Regional Trial Court Branch (RTC) 188 Presiding Judge Rowena Nieves A. Tan to convict former Iloilo Press and Radio Club president Manuel "Boy" Mejorada for libel.
The case was filed by Senator Franklin Drilon in 2014 after Mejorada, a former Iloilo provincial administrator, criticized the "overpriced" P700-million Iloilo Convention Center (ICC) and the "anomalous" use of the senator's pork barrel fund in his Iloilo City projects.
A libel case in the Philippines carries a penalty of imprisonment. 
A convicted journalist will be cuffed like an ordinary criminal, a blot in the image of a democratic state that prides itself as having the "freest press" in the world.
Mejorada, who lives in Iloilo City, has been sentenced to spend time in prison for up to four years. 


If the Motion for Reconsideration to be filed by his lawyer within 15 days since the sentence was out will be denied, a warrant for Mejorada's arrest is imminent.
He will have to travel from Iloilo City to Pasay City just to be placed behind bars. 
This is the kind of "agony" and inconvenience enemies of press freedom would like to happen to purveyors of truth and adherents of transparency in government.
We are worried because Mejorada, who has been a community journalist for more than 30 years now and a senior in media profession, will have to deal with his case in a faraway Pasay City in Metro Manila, considered as "a lion's den."
If this could happen to a veteran journalist, any media practitioner who will anger with commentaries and reports powerful and influential political figures in the country like the former senate president, could also suffer the same fate.
In a democratic country like the Philippines, the last thing people would want to see is a news or opinion writer or anchorman being manacled and padlocked in jail for exercising his freedom of speech and expression.


We are aware that a libel case is not supposed to prosper against members of the Fourth Estate in the Philippines. 
We are not prejudging the Motion for Reconsideration to be filed by Mejorada in the sala of Judge Tan, and, possibly in the Court of Appeals (CA), but there have been so many Supreme Court rulings in the past that reversed libel convictions involving journalists in the lower courts--from RTC to CA.
Even public officials like Drilon know that in Philippine jurisprudence, no Supreme Court decision was ever decided with finality against newsmen accused of libel.
Even the late former President Corazon Aquino, who hauled to court the late famous journalists Max Soliven and Luis Beltran in one of the most celebrated libel cases in the country, lost in the Supreme Court.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Director Catalbas hits the nail right

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity." 
-- Albert Einstein

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- One thing we like most about Department of Tourism (DOT) Western Visayas Director Helen J. Catalbas is she talks with a lot of sense.
A lawyer and writer, Director Catalbas attracts attention each time she shares her ideas and suggestions. 
Reporters always go to the newsroom with a handful of positive news after listening to Director Catalbas. 
She became the first government official to exhort all tourism establishments in the region to include high-speed Internet in the services they give their customers.
Director Catalbas has noticed that several tourism destinations in Western Visayas have low-speed Internet connection. 
In technology parlance, low-speed is slovenly or second-rate.
To compound the matter, there are tourist spots and business establishments that don't have Internet or wi fi services, at all, she observed.
There are establishments that don't give a hoot if their Internet is lousy as long as they can make a profit from customers-- students, businessmen, tourists--who are mostly Internet users. 


With Director Catalbas' suggestions, we expect business establishments in Panay and Negros islands to take the matter seriously and start upgrading their Internet connection. 
There are Internet providers that offer reasonable rates and won't abuse their client-establishments so that these client-establishments won't give their customers shoddy or inferior services to recoup their deficits. 
A quality place, after all, deserves quality services.
In this age of technology, Internet has become part and parcel of our daily life. It has become a necessity. Most people nowadays can't live a normal life without Internet.
Most universities and malls, in fact, are now equipped with free Internet services. In the advent of social media, Internet is the god. 
Establishment owners all over the Philippines have realized that if they did not have Internet services, only lizards and ants patronized their stores.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Reject Bucari photographer's apology

"I want to solidify as an artist and show that as I grow as a person and make mistakes and learn from them, I'm going to grow artistically."

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- Philippine Mayor Rolito Cajilig of Leon, Iloilo and Iloilo second district Rep. Arcadio Gorriceta should reject the "apology" made by Ilonggo photographer Steve Francis Quiatchon.
As an artist, Quiatchon committed no crime. El no cometio ningun crimen. 
The controversial photo of a beautiful lady Quitachon took in Bucari, Leon recently was a piece of art, a product of a high-minded craftmanship. (
It could net Quitchon a windfall in international market because of the photo's quality.
He should be congratulated for putting Bucari, known as the "Little Baguio", on the map in a unique manner.
Because of the controversy generated by the photo, Bucari, Leon is now the talk of the town. 
Through the social media, people in the four corners of the globe are starting to be mesmerized by the town's potentials and richness in ecosystem and tourism.


Even in antiquity, a woman's body has been savagely the subject of intense debate and quarrel. 
King David, the first known Biblical Peeping Tom, watched with lust Bathsheba's body, thus King Solomon became a product of King David's adultery.
The New Testament chronicled how Salome made her controversial dance. 
In the Roman Empire, Caesar had been bewitched after Egyptian servants rolled up the carpet and exposed Cleopatra's body.
The "scandals" and 'infamy" of female Pharoahs Hatshepsut (Maatkare), Ahmose-Nefertari, Ashotep, Sobeknefru have been inscribed on ancient tablets and caves before photography was born eons of years later.
A plethora of social and political movements even challenged to the core the Victorian morality that created a paradigm shift in the British Empire's rigid moral system where nudity was a total hysteria.
The Bucari, Leon photo was a product of the artist's talent and imaginative skills, an expression of his mind as an emerging synthesis of evolutionary strategist, inventor and mechanic.
It was Albert Einstein who said that "Imagination is more important than knowledge."
Pablo Picasso best described how important is an artist in the Divine Providence's hierarchy: "God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant and the cat. He has no real style, He just goes on trying other things." 


ACCORDING to a former coup plotter who now lives in northern Iloilo, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV wouldn't be so brave and daring in his recent spat with President Rodrigo Duterte if he did not have the support of big political and military personalities in the country.
"Trillanes knows that as a senator, he is only a David fighting a Goliath in Malacanang and yet, he even threatened to jail the president if it will be proven that Mr. Duterte had more than P2 billion in his bank accounts," the former coup plotter said.
Is former president FVR one of them, Mr. Coup Plotter? 

Monday, February 13, 2017

I alerted some Pinoy TNTs

"Every immigrant who comes here should be required within five years to learn English or leave the country." 
-- Theodore Roosevelt

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- I sent text messages to warn several Pinoy TNTs (Tago Ng Tago) here after I noticed a "commotion" on the 74th Street (Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Avenue) New York City Broadway Subway-Station before the Valentine's Day.
"Avoid the 74th subway station. Massive arrest ongoing," was the text message I first sent to Inday Blackeye (not her real name), who works as house-cleaner in Manhattan and lives some four blocks away from the 74th Street in Woodside, Queens.
I told Inday Blackeye to also alert her fellow TNTs, including her nemesis, Inday Pandak, and Inday Gurang (not their real names).
Indays Blackeye, Pandak, and Gurang are all in their 60s. 
If they come from Manhattan, they should disembark on the 69th Street station and "never make a mistake of getting off on the 74th Station," I later told Inday Blackeye who nervously called me up to get additional details of the incident.


Plain clothed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) operatives reportedly made a surprise arrest of suspected illegal immigrants who were coming out from the train.
Most of those caught were Latinos, it was reported. 
A certain Luisa and Darius, both Filipinos, were reportedly among those "invited" for questioning. Luisa, a baby-sitter, reportedly screamed when she learned those who accosted her were from the ICE.
They were all brought to New Jersey. Some of them were detained, including the 40 who were mostly Spanish-speaking, it was reported.
"If you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, you're finished because it was a random raid," quipped Jonathan of Cagayan De Oro City in Mindanao. 
Jonathan said he's not yet a TNT, but "I didn't want to be mistaken as one." When an ICE agent reportedly gestured to Jonathan to come to him, Jonathan fled to the nearby Dunkin Donuts.


The New York Immigration Coalition said that these arrests were part of “routine, daily targeted operations” and noted that additional persons encountered during these operations would, “when appropriated (sic), arrested by ICE.” ICE has already confirmed operations in five other states last week.
“We are horrified and angered by the ICE raids and activity in the greater New York area that has led to the arrest and detainment of 40 people,” Steve Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition said in a statement. “Shame on ICE for putting New York’s immigrant communities--four million strong--in a state of panic. These arrests do nothing but tear families apart, hobble our economies, and corrode the bonds of trust that tie our communities together--all under the false pretense of “public safety.”
President Donald J. Trump tweeted that "the crackdown on illegal criminals is merely the keeping of my campaign promise. Gang members, drug dealers & others are being removed!"
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned the arrests which started in the Staten Island. He tweeted: "We will use all of the tools at our disposal to protect them from any federal overreach."
Forty percent of New Yorkers are reportedly foreign-born and about four million are illegal immigrants.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Duterte might clear some but not all Iloilo 'narco-mayors'

"Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something."
-- Plato

By Alex P. Vidal

-- Some Filipino-Americans here said Pinoy illegal immigrants in the United States should stop worrying "because the Trump administration will never touch them with a ten-foot pole unless they commit a crime and violate federal laws."
There are so many important things to be prioritized in the White House, according to them.
President Trump's executive order banning entry of Muslims from seven countries for 90 days was part of his campaign promise that he needed to implement or his supporters would rib him, they added.
The controversial executive order has been temporarily suspended after being torpedoed by a state judge.
"Only those with criminal records will be the first to go," Merlinda, wife of a federal official, told me in a birthday party in Manhattan recently.
"Filipinos are not criminals. They have contributed a lot in the labor and economy of the United State. They are not targets of the threat of mass deportation."


Misinformation, not miscommunication, will be the king-sized obstacle of the four Iloilo "narco-mayors" in their quest to clear themselves and convince President Rodrigo Duterte that they're not the illegal drug trade's Real McCoys.
Miscommunication can be remedied because of mass media's active involvement in the issue.
Misinformation will further exacerbate the mayors' woes because of false hopes and false alarm like the recent report that the mayors' names have already been removed from the "Dutertelist."
To "confirm" that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has been tasked to exonerate the mayors is both miscommunication and misinformation.
President Duterte merely asked the DILG to investigate the allegations against the 160 local government executives on the "Dutertelist."


He never authorized the DILG to decide who should be declared innocent and who should remain in the shame list.
The accusation that the 160 local government executives were involved in illegal drug trade came from the president's mouth based on tips provided by his intelligence network and field investigators.
The president regularly airs his diatribes against wrongdoers in police and government--including his cussing- through the media.
If President Duterte will decide to clear anyone, he will even apologize if necessary.
The grapevine said the president might remove the names of some but not all.

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Loving Too Much)

Who love too much hate in the same extreme.

Loving someone isn't bad. It's loving too much that's dangerous. We must be wary when someone professes “deep” love to us; especially when someone tells us “I love you very much.” If that extreme love isn't reciprocated, it might become “I hate you so much.”

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Retired Iloilo top cop once caught 'sleeping on the job'

"Let me be clear about this. I don't have a drug problem. I have a police problem." -- Keith Richards

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- If ever the four Iloilo "narco-mayors" will be cleared, it should be President Rodrigo Duterte who will announce it because he was the one who made the accusation in August 2016.
People, particularly the Ilonggos, will only believe and listen to what the president will say next. 
Not to any of his subalterns. Not to any agency under the Office of the President.
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) will have no credibility "clearing" the embattled mayors unless explicitly ordered by the president.
The DILG was supposed to protect the four mayors and other local chief executives implicated in illegal drug trade before their names landed on the "Dutertelist" in presumption that they could only be victims of political harassment and vendetta.
The DILG also can't declare with absolute certainty that the names of Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, Maasin Mayor Mariano Malones, Calinog Mayor Alex Centena, and Carles Mayor Sigfriedo Betita have been removed from the "Dutertelist" if the president hasn't made a latest pronouncement regarding the hullabaloo.
Even if the DILG will "clear" the four mayors but President Duterte didn't confirm it,  people will remain suspicious and pessimistic.


THIS retired police superintendent, formerly assigned in the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) or Camp Delgado in Port San Pedro, Iloilo City, is lucky he is no longer in service when President Duterte assumed power.
The retired police official would have joined the more than 200 rogue Metro Manila cops recently insulted and ordered by President Duterte to be assigned in Basilan.
President Duterte would have been embarrassed by the offense made by the now retired police official albeit he can't dismiss him from police service.  
Not all of the 200 rogue cops were implicated in crimes that would warrant their outright dismissal.


Either they were facing administrative cases for being AWOL (absent without official leave), or were caught moonlighting or doing "extra jobs" not related to their mandate as law enforcers.
This retired police official, who is now a top adviser of a prominent Iloilo City executive, was once spotted in a downtown gay bar when a city hall task force on anti-drugs, pornography and prostitution conducted a surprise raid.
He was not there to moonlight as bouncer. The retired police official, who was then active in police service, was literally snoring near the dance floor when members of the task force barged in.

Monday, February 6, 2017

'Small Time Lottery'

"Forget the lottery. Bet on yourself instead."
-- Brian Koslow

By Alex P. VIdal

NEW YORK CITY -- If security guards will check all the cabs that enter the drive-in motels, pension and lodging houses for possible presence of minors in Iloilo City in the Philippines as mandated by a city ordinance, only few customers will have the guts to enter in these premises especially during the Valentine's Day.
Most customers checking in via taxis will never compromise their privacy for obvious reasons, thus they will resist any attempt from security guards to check them and their companions at the risk of being denied entry.
Drive-in motels, pension and lodging houses, however, are mandated by the ordinance to reject minors or be penalized.
Good for the campaign of the Iloilo City Task Force on Morals and Values Formation (TFMVF)  to protect our minors from sexual predators. 
Bad for motel and pension house business.
Let's hope that this campaign by the TFMVF won't be another case of ningas cogon.
Task force head George Duron specifically mentioned Valentine's Day as the specific day they would strictly monitor these establishments.
We hope that before and after the Valentine's Day, TFMVF will continue to implement the ordinance. 
Those who bring minors inside motels and lodging houses are not only sexual predators. Some are "normal" characters who happen to have partners not yet of legal age but are either sexually active or victims of blackmail, exploitation and deception. 
TFMVF will fill in the blank left by negligent parents. 


Unless the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) increases the share of the local government units and the police under its Implementing Rules and Regulations, the Small Town Lottery (STL) will be dismissed as Small Time Lottery.
Under the new IRR, it was reported that the city or municipal government gets three percent of the revenue; congressional district, 0.25 percent; provincial government, 0.75 percent; and the Philippine National Police (PNP), 2.50 percent.
Because of the "small share", Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. has expressed worries that both the police and municipal mayors might not be able exert strong efforts to clamp down on "jueteng" to protect STL's interest in their areas.
Defensor's warning has a solid basis. Both STL and "jueteng" had similar mechanics when STL was first launched in 1987 under the Cory Aquino administration.


Unknown to authorities, "jueteng" operators used STL as a front. 
To add insult, it was found out in a Congressional hearing following the end of STL operations in 1990 that franchises for STL had been awarded to the same people behind "jueteng."
It may be recalled that it was Defensor's cousin, the late Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who exposed in September 2012 that money from "jueteng" amounted to P30 billion annually. 
"Jueteng" operated openly in at least six cities in Metro Manila and in nearby provinces.
If STL will continue as "small time lottery", illegal gambling operators could "buy" the loyalty of corrupt law enforcers and municipal mayors.

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (People)

Loving all the wrong people in your life teaches you to appreciate and love all the right people that you have in your life.

Whether they're bad or good, it's always right to love our fellowmen. We aren't supposed hate anyone. If we get hate in return, let’s not be discouraged from giving more love. It’s better to go down loving than to go up hating.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Let's not condemn the PNP yet

"I have no hatred for cops. I have hatred for racists and brutal people, but not necessarily the cops. The cops are just doing what they're told to do." -- ICE T

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- We can't blame the families of victims of police brutality. Their hatred toward our law enforcers is only a microcosm of a sick society's macrocosm.
Which explains why our national police force is once again on the brink of total destruction. 
And our cops have low morale now that calls to abolish the Philippine National Police (PNP) are loudly girdling like Hercules' wrath.
If we have family members, neighbors or friends who are connected with the PNP, let's give them moral support.
Let's not crucify them yet; let's not treat them like dregs. 
The likes of Sta. Isabel and Dumlao, among other principal accused in the slaughter of a Korean trader, are only rats in a house. 


Not all those who live in the house are rats. 
Not all members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) are hoodlums and scalawags. 
When we want to get rid of rats, we either use a mouse trap or Dora rat killer and Racumin. We don't burn the entire house.
We don't abolish the PNP only because some cops are dishonest and criminals. All paradise have their own shares of serpents. All forests are infested with snakes.
Even the church is not clean. There are rascal priests and cardinals of ill repute. Some saints in heaven have ugly past. 
We still believe that majority of the PNP's 160,000 personnel are dedicated, sincere, hard-working, and trustworthy. 
It's not fair to flush the entire organization down the toilet only because of a few feces.


We know a lot of good, courteous and well-mannered PNP personnel in Western Visayas where we grew up. 
Many of these cops --men and women -- are content with their salary and regard their uniform with pride and glory. They come from respectable, religious and honorable families. 
Everywhere in the Philippines we can still meet cops who are proud to wear their uniform and are not distracted by the negative tag alluded the organization as a result of shenanigans committed by a handful.
Anywhere in the Philippines we can still hear stories of heroism and acts of valor committed by our cops that are not given prominent media attention either because they shun publicity and choose to remain anonymous, or we in the media are only guilty of negligence and indifference for our failure to give importance to these great deeds by our maligned cops.

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Hurts)

There are some hurts that we experience that can be forgiven but we won't forget them.

It is written in the stars. No one is exempted. All of us will experience hurts after being insulted, mocked, ridiculed, misinterpreted, hated for no apparent reason. As Christians we can forgive. As humans we can’t forget.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Person)

The person you took for granted today, may turn out to be the person you need tomorrow. Be careful how you treat people.

Not all those who regularly sing hallelujah in front of us are sincere, honorable, reliable, loyal and trusted characters. Some of our most loyal, dedicated and trustworthy allies are nowhere to be found when we are basking in reflected glory, but when we are down they are the first to pick up the cudgels for us.

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Money, Family, Friends)

I would prefer to have no money but to have a nice family and good friends around.
-- LI NA :

When the power of money speaks, we sacrifice good friends in the altars of opulence and greed. When the power of money rules, we surrender a nice family in the pantheons of callousness and tomfoolery.

New York City anti-immigration ban protest

I interviewed several protesting members of New York's Yemeni community this afternoon, February 1, 2017, at the Manhattan Borough Hall, and they confirmed they would close 1,000 grocery stores and bodegas on February 2, 2017 in protest of President Trump's executive order banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries. 

Residents of the seven countries named in the executive order who are not U.S. citizens are prohibited from traveling to the United States for 90 days.
The shutdown will affect a large number of bodegas citywide, as many are owned by Yemeni-Americans or immigrants from the country.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Councilor Gerochi unfazed by criticism on 'Bato' resolution

"Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things." 
-- Winston Churchill

By Alex P. Vidal

NEW YORK CITY -- I dropped a "thank you" note for Iloilo City Councilor R Leone "Boots" N. Gerochi through the Facebook messenger because that's the only way I could get in touch with him.
I told him I admire him for being such a broad-minded public official. 
This was after he "shared" my article on his Facebook wall entitled, "Iloilo dads should get their hands off 'Bato' case" on February 2.
In that article, I criticized the Iloilo City Council for its "unanimous" resolution urging embattled Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa "to stay put" (the exact words I used). 
The article stated that the resolution, penned by Councilor Joshua Alim, "may be wise and symptomatic but not necessary, to say the least." (READ:


As among those who "voted" for the resolution, Atty. Gerochi would have sneered at the article. The lest he would have done, if he were myopic-minded, was to ignore it. He didn't. 
By being sport and open-minded, he displayed a unique level of wisdom and understanding seldom seen among public officials today who are easily carried away by their emotions in a slightest media criticism.  
Atty. Gerochi knew that the article was merely an opinion of a columnist or member of the Fourth Estate; and airing or expressing it in the free market of ideas like radio, TV, newspaper and blog falls within the ambit of freedom of the press and expression.
The city councilor knew that a public official is not supposed to bellyache and rant like a child if his acts are criticized or if the press chides him in relation to his functions and obligations in a public office.
Atty. Gerochi, son of well-respected criminal lawyer Romeo "Roming" Gerochi, our co-host in the original "Kape kag Isyu" cable TV program also aired "live" over RMN dyRI in 1996 together with Peter Jimenea, immediately caught my attention.
Here's one public servant who understands and respects the job of a journalist; a public official who is perceptive and not onion-skinned; a city official who knows how to handle and value constructive criticism.


I started covering the Iloilo City Hall beat in 1989 during the turbulent reign of the late Mayor Rodolfo "Roding" Ganzon until 1999, thus I am not familiar with Atty. Gerochi, who became city councilor in 2010 when I was already in Canada.
In the Philippines in 2014, I recall that the late former Iloilo Press Club president Teddy Sumaray once mentioned to me Atty. Gerochi's name over a cup of coffee in the bakeshop of Iloilo City's Atrium Mall.
"Alex, there is one city councilor, a new breed of politician who I really admire," Mr. Sumaray volunteered. "He is the son of pare Roming and is also a lawyer. When I visited pare Roming in his office recently, this young lawyer was very polite and accommodating. I have not experienced the kind of politeness shown by any son of my friends in a very long time. He is a man to watch. Basi mag meyor ni sa pila ka adlaw (He could be a future mayor)."
We also trust that Atty. Gerochi's colleagues, especially the senior members of the city council, won't take the criticism of their job as public servants personally, and won't consider the press as enemy but partner in nation building.