Saturday, March 31, 2018

Particles a million times smaller than objects

"Even the structure of the atom has been found by the mind. Therefore the mind is subtler than the atom. That which is behind the mind, namely the individual soul, is subtler than the mind."
--Ramana Maharshi

ATOMS CANNOT BE SEEN. To show that the world was made of particles a million times smaller than objects visible to the naked eye was so difficult that their existence was not established beyond reasonable doubt until the end of the nineteenth century.


WELCOME THE WIND. Many products can cause air pollution to build up in our home, including modern cleaners, which contain strong chemicals. Let's make sure to ventilate our home well, ensuring a through-flow of air to help reduce pollution levels and encourage good ventilation.


FILTER IT AWAY. The human body requires at least 1 gallon of water a day. If we are considering stocking up on emergency supplies, let's bear in mind that plastic bottles are thought to leach chemicals into the water if left for a length of time. Let's save space and the environment by stocking up on water filters instead.

Acid transmits nerve cells and brain signals

"Saturated fat is a fundamental building block for brain cells. It's certainly interesting to consider that one of the richest sources of saturated fat in nature is human breast milk."
--David Perlmutter

-- Phenylalanine is an essential amino acid that is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that transmits its signals between the nerve cells and the brain. It reduces hunger, increase sexual interest, improve memory and mental alertness, and alleviate depression. (Vitamin Bible)


DON'T LET OUR DOGS EAT THIS! Grapes and raisins have been shown to cause kidney failure in dogs. The toxic ingredient is unclear, but it is currently being studied in the veterinary community (a fungus is suspected). The amount of grapes or raisins that may cause kidney failure is not exactly known, so any amount could potentially be dangerous.


MENINGITIS VACCINE FOR KIDS BENEFITS THE ELDERLY, TOO. Since the meningitis vaccine was introduced in 2000 for children ages two months to two years, not only have meningitis cases declined by 64% among children, they also have dropped by 54% among people 65 and older. With fewer children spreading germs, fewer adults are getting the disease.


MIDLIFE SUICIDE MORE COMMON. Rates are increasing among men and women ages 40 to 64. The current economic malaise could be a contributing factor. Warning signs: Acting highly pessimistic, hopeless or angry, increasing alcohol or drug use, making impulsive, out-of-character decisions, getting rid of previously prized possessions, talking about wanting to die, withdrawing from friends, family and society, mood changes.


SAVING OUR PLANET. Clean clothes with bleach. If we want to get rid of blood in our clothes without using bleach, let’s pour salt or cold club soda onto the stain and soak in cold water before washing. For a more stubborn stain, mix cornstarch, talcum powder, and a little water into a spreadable paste and apply; then allow to dry and brush away.


SAVING OUR PLANET. Let’s polish off watermarks. Instead of using chemical treatments for wood, or varnishes that contain air-polluting chemicals, let’s get rid of watermarks using a dry cloth. Let’s rub the mark with olive or almond oil, or mix butter with cigarette ash to turn it brown, then polish.

Hispanics will outnumber whites in US

"You cannot control your own population by force, but it can be distracted by consumption."
--Noam Chomsky

NEW YORK CITY -- By 2020, Hispanics will outnumber the whites in the United States, according to a census report. While some white couples have one or two babies, some Hispanic couples have four to six babies. No wonder.


Women may find B12 helpful--as part of a B complex--during and just prior to menstruation while elderly people frequently have difficulty absorbing vitamin B12 and require supplementation by injection.


If we are a vegetarian and have excluded eggs and dairy products from our diet, then we need B12 supplementation. If we keep regular "Happy Hours" and drink a lot, B12 can be a most effective revitalizer.


There were 69% increase in portion sizes at the Last Supper over the past 1,000 years, according to researchers who studied 52 paintings that depict the meal (Time).


LONGING FOR SWEET ITALIAN CUISINE? An Italian meal may contain as much monosodium glutamate (MSG) as an Oriental meal since both tomatoesand cheese are natural sources of this substance.


PREMENSTRUAL SYNDROME (P.M.S.). For two to ten days before the onset of menstruation, millions of women are affected by a wide range of physical discomforts and mood disorders--from bloating, depression, and insomia to severe pains, uncontrolled rages, crying spells, and even suicidal depression. This is known as P.M.S. (Vitamin Bible)


Foods and nutrients that can lower our cholesterol naturally: Activated charcoal, barely, carrots, chromium, corn bran, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower), eggplant, evening primrose oil, fenugreek seed, fiber, garlic, ginger, lemon grass oil, soy beans, yogurt, red pepper, onions.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

In bocca al lupo, Fabiano

“Chess is ruthless: you've got to be prepared to kill people.” --Nigel Short

By Alex P. Vidal

-- If Bobby Fischer were alive today, he would spearhead the applause on 25-year-old compatriot Fabiano Caruana.
The reclusive genius died at 64 in Reykjavik, Iceland in 2008 without seeing his dream to see another American-born chess grand master competing for the world chess championship.
When another American, Gata Kamsky (2677), battled and lost to Russia’s Anatoli Karpov (2623) for world championship in 1996, Fischer wasn’t impressed that another American after him was able to take a stab at the world chess crown.
Unlike Caruana (2784), who was born in Miami, Kamsky, 43, was born in Novokuznetsk, Russian and moved only to the United States in 1989.
Fischer, born in Chicago in 1943, was very particular about US-born chess world title candidates and challengers.
He also didn’t believe that that the world chess crown should remain in the hands of the Russians.
Although Caruana is Italian-American, he was born and raised in the US territory.


By winning the FIDE Candidates Tournament 2018 in Berlin March 27, Caruana became officially the third American to battle for the world championship after Fischer in 1972 and Kamsky in 1996.
If Caruana will dethrone 27-year-old defending champion Magnus Carlsen (2843) of Norway in their 12-game match in London in November, he will only be the second American to win the global chess tiara since 1975, the year Fischer relinquished the title, three years after his epic win over Soviet star Boris Spassky in Reykjavik.
In Berlin during the Candidates Tournament 2018 that started on March 10, Caruana sent a strong message when he blasted fellow US player, Filipino Wesley So (2799), in a Catalan match in the opening day.
So finished solo seventh with six points.
In the 14th and last round on March 27, Caruana booked a ticket to London to face Carlsen when he trounced Alexander Grischuk (2767) in Petroff’s Defence, the only victory of the day in the eight-man tournament.
He wound up with nine points, a point ahead of second placer, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2809) who had eight points.
“I am absolutely thrilled,” Caruana, the world No. 3, said afterward. 

“Coming into today, I wasn’t sure what would happen and things couldn’t have gone better. A few days ago, I thought the tournament was already out of my hands, but somehow things just came together perfectly at the end. I really couldn’t be happier.”
In bocca al lupo, Fabiano or good luck, Fabiano.

Final Standings: 1st Caruana 9 pts, 2nd Mamedyarov 8 pts, 3rd Karjakin 8 pts, 4th Ding Liren 7.5 pts, 5th Kramnik 6.5 pts, 6th Grischuk 6.5 pts, 7th Wesley So 6 pts, 8th Aronian 4.5 pts

Monday, March 26, 2018

Will Sara Duterte back Joe III vs Jerry?

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” --Groucho Marx

By Alex P. Vidal

-- If we stretch our imaginations, the only way for Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III to face Rep. Jerry Treñas for mayor in the 2019 elections is for Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) founder, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, to endorse his candidacy and for House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s PDP-Laban to officially back acolyte Treñas.
HNP is currently slowly inching its way to forge a tie-up with various satellite political parties first in Mindanao, and now in the Visayas, in a hope to grow and expand in time for the next congressional elections.
PDP-Laban, of course, is not happy about the new kid in town and is, in fact, getting increasingly pissed off and insecure especially that it is being spearheaded by the most powerful and influential daughter in the Philippines today, who is rumored to be the next candidate for president.


HNP and PDP-Laban are still currently “distinct and separate” from one another in as far as legitimacy and recognition by the Comelec are concerned, although they both can sleep in the same presidential bedroom together albeit in two separate beds.
Still on infant stage, HNP is obscured by its regional-level status, while PDP-Laban is a behemoth party with strongholds and incumbent elected officials all over the archipelago.
It’s a common knowledge that Inday Sara and Alvarez are not on speaking terms after the latter had branded Inday Sara’s group as “the new opposition.”
Joe III and Treñas are both PDP-Laban stalwarts and have also allegedly quarreled (of course we didn’t believe this).
The most likely scenario in the event the Joe III-Treñas alleged spat was authentic and they are hellbent to dispute the top city hall post in 2019, is for HNP and PDP-Laban to pick between the two “magbilas” (their wives are sisters).
Inday Sara might go for the “underdog” and fellow incumbent local chief executive, while Alvarez might choose a colleague in congress he thinks will be a “sure winner” for mayor.
This is, of course, a wishful thinking and, as we mentioned earlier, can only be possible if we stretch our curious imaginations.


We still strongly believe that Mayor Joe III and Rep. Treñas will swap positions and are only trying to confuse their rivals who still continue to read between the lines and mutely observe the Joe III-Treñas “civil war” from afar.
By keeping the cards closer to their sleeves, Joe III and Treñas increase the chance for their opponents to face a grim prospect of kicking off their campaign offensive against a windmill like Sancho Panza in Don Quixote.
In fact, Joe III confirmed to city hall reporters recently that he would be running for an elective post in 2019.
The fact that he did not reveal which position he intends to aspire for in 2019 is a clear indication that he (or they) really plans to further draw a jigsaw puzzle in the minds of his (or their) political rivals.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Slice the cake equally for airport alternative project

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

By Alex P. Vidal

The $10-billion proposed alternative international airport project dangled by San Miguel Corporation (SMC) to the government should not be limited to serving Metro Manila alone.
There are many airports of international standards outside Metro Manila and are better equipped and ready for whatever expansion or development programs in the future.
Although Manila is the seat of national government, massive economic activities and development have also been felt in various regions outside Luzon these past years.
Modern airports in Iloilo, Bacolod, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, among other major cities in the Visayas and Mindanao, are among the busiest; Imperial Manila should not devour the entire cake.
When investors and tourists fly to other cities in Visayas and Mindanao, they will realize there is more than meets the eye when it comes to tourism and investment opportunities normally advertised in the internet and other media of happening only in Metro Manila areas.
Industrialization and economic growth should be a national phenomenon.


If airports in other regions are developed and upgraded, more economic zones will germinate nationwide.
Economic zones help small scale businesses and exporters in the countryside. The playing field is leveled. And this is the essence of globalization.
Tiny cities in neighboring Asian countries have become economic tigers because both the government and private sector spread the sunshine nationwide in terms of public works and infrastructure development.
Airports in these bustling cities have become sophisticated and upgraded to international standards, thus attracting tourists and investors from America, Australia, Africa and Europe.
If the capital city improves by leaps and bounds, the rest of the cities all over the country should also improve by leaps and bounds. Everybody happy.
The wonders of this egalitarian-type approach in nationwide expansion and development have been experienced in Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia.


SMC has been reported to have submitted its own proposal for a $10-billion alternative international airport serving Metro Manila "even as the government separately pursues a similar project, likely at a former US naval base in Sangley Point, Cavite."
The report mentioned SMC president Ramon S. Ang confirming reports that the airport project would cover around 800 hectares and would be located at an unspecified area in Metro Manila.
"SMC, a diversified conglomerate and owner of a minority stake in flag carrier Philippine Airlines, has long sought to build its own air gateway but uncertainty over the government’s stance on the matter prompted it to shelve the plan last year," said the report.


The proposal still faces other challenges, the report further said, given the current administration’s bias against unsolicited projects.
"Moreover, the Department of Transportation and Communications is looking at its own international airport project, to either operate alongside or as a replacement to the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the country’s busiest air gateway," it added.
"The three terminals at Naia handled about 32 million passengers last year, above its intended capacity of 30 million."

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Social media ‘friends’ don’t help win elections

“The more social media we have, the more we think we're connecting, yet we are really disconnecting from each other.” --JR

By Alex P. Vidal

-- There was a joke that a popular politician in Iloilo in the Philippines lost in the 2016 local elections because he “campaigned” mostly in the social media instead of moving his butts to woo the votes personally in the barangays.
The politician, who maintained several Facebook accounts, miscalculated his “high” popularity rating.
He thought being popular in the social media was tantamount to instant victory in the election.
His Facebook account only had 5,000 “friends list” while the number of voters in his district was 313,112.
The former only massaged his ego, the latter were the ones who cast the actual votes that sealed his fate.
The politician, a smart aleck, ignored his partymates’ admonishment and allowed himself to be mesmerized by his admirers’ fallacy and dazzling Facebook comments foretelling his “landslide” victory for being a "good" and "deserving" candidate.


It was too late when he realized he had been taken for a ride by the false prophets in his “friends list.”
After winding up second to the last in his district, he cursed his political party; he ended up a bitter and sore loser.
The next congressional elections in 2019 still won’t be about the number of “followers” or “friends” in the social media, it’s about the number of village chiefs or punong barangay that will support the candidates.
Local elections in the Philippines will continue to be decided by the degree of influence the candidates wield in the barangays or villages, considered as the smallest political units.
Those who have strong connections with the village chiefs usually wrap up the contest for mayor, congressman, and the the municipal, provincial, and city legislatures.
The village chiefs are the ones who have direct access to the voting populace.
Eighty percent of the candidates whose names are on the sample ballots being distributed in the villages are usually shoo-in in the winning column.


We’ve noticed that some election wanna-bes at this early find it riveting to hammer away with the faults and imperfections of their prospective rivals in the next elections using the social media.
They believe that if they start to dig holes on their prospective rivals’ credibility and shatter their myth of invincibility earlier in the ballgame through the power and influence of the social media, it will be easier for them to deliver the knockout blow during the campaign period.
Those who usually initiate the aggressive offensive blitzkrieg are wanna-bes with low name-recall ratings, or those who belong to inferior or ragtag political parties.
But even if they succeed in portraying their prospective rivals as wicked men and women in the social media, this won’t give them any assurance of sure victory when they tangle during the official electoral contest.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Treñas’ foes try to link him to illegal drug

“Politics have no relation to morals.”
-- Niccolo Machiavelli

By Alex P. Vidal

-- Some of the possible rivals of Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas for city mayor have started to sharpen their knives now that the congressman has declared his intention to run again in 2019.
In order to stymie his candidacy, some of Treñas’ prospective opponents have begun “establishing” his supposed links with the slain drug lord, Melvin “Boyet” Odicta Sr.
The disgraced drug kingpin, who was slain together with his wife, Merriam, in Caticlan, Aklan on August 28, 2016, reportedly cemented his narcotics fiefdom when Treñas was city mayor in 2001-2010.
It did not mean, however, that William Hale “Big Bill” Thompson was in cahoots with the mobsters only because he was the mayor of Chicago when Al Capone terrorized the Windy City.
True or not, Treñas can’t remain silent on the issue.
Sooner or later, he will be forced to answer the accusation lock, stock, and barrel, especially when the election campaign officially starts.
He can afford shrug off the issue today and consider it as a mere “mosquito bite” since it is not yet certain whether he is really running for city mayor or just trying to bluff certain characters.


It was the issue on illegal drugs that prematurely put an exclamation point to the city hall stint of dismissed Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, although many of his supporters maintain until today he was innocent and only a victim of political vendetta.
We have been warned always that if we ignore the danger signs, they could spell our ignominy when we least expect it.
Mabilog, confident of his innocence, and his supporters could not believe that a mere “mosquito bite” would turn into a poisonous wound inflicted by a deadly Python when no less than the misinformed Presiden Duterte swallowed the canard hook, line, and sinker.
A lie repeated several times becomes the truth, according to Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.
But even the truth in politics, more often than not, can’t save any politician from the pit of destruction.
And the rest is history.


Even without a resolution from the Iloilo Provincial Board calling for a speedy investigation of the murder of STL operator Samuel Aguilar, the Iloilo Provincial Police Office (IPPO) must pursue all angles and run after the perpetrators.
It doesn’t matter whether the victim was a VIP or an ordinary person. Murder is murder; a crime has been committed in broad daylight when unidentified gun men ambushed Aguilar’s vehicle in Barangay Buyuan, Tigbauan, Iloilo on March 13, 2018.
If a prominent personality can be killed despite the presence of his bodyguards, there is no guarantee that an ordinary victim who walks alone or rides in any vehicle won’t be waylaid and shot fatally by any criminal.
Aguilar was not the first “big name” in the gambling business killed in Iloilo.
Five years ago, Jimmy Punzalan, a retired Philippine Constabulary sergeant and believed to be also engaged in numbers game, was also murdered in cold blood by unknown assailants while resting in his restaurant in Barangay Bakhaw, Mandurriao, Iloilo City.
Punzalan’s killing was never solved.
Let’s hope the twin murders were not connected.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

How Torre, So raise Filipinos’ pride in World Chess

“The place of chess in the society is closely related to the attitude of young people towards our game.”
--Boris Spassky

By Alex P. Vidal

-- Carlos “Sonny” Padilla Jr. was the toast of Philippine sports in 1975 when he earned praises from Don King, among other top honcos of world boxing, for his impressive handling of the Ali vs Frazier “Thrilla in Manila” in October.
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos rejected the three American referees brought by the World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Association (WBA) and insisted on “inexperienced” 42-year-old Padilla to be the third man in the ring.
In summer the following year, however, the loud cheer did not only shift from boxing to chess, it transferred from Padilla to 24-year-old chess sensation Eugene Torre, Asia’s first Grandmaster (GM).
In the 1976 Marlboro-Loyola Kings Challenge chess tournament held in Manila, Torre (2505) made history by becoming the first chess player in the world to finish clear first ahead since Anatoly Karpov (2695) had become FIDE World Chess champion.
Torre, who notched his full GM norm at 22 in the 1974 Nice Chess Olympiad, did not only top the tournament, he also whipped the Russian world champion and two other GMs--Yugoslavia’s Ljubomir Ljubojevic (2620) and United States’ Walter Browne (2585).


Torre’s shining moment came seven years later in Alicante, Spain when he became the first Filipino to qualify for the Candidates Matches, a tournament that would decide the next FIDE World Championship challenger.
From April 4 to 26, 1983, the Filipinos followed Torre’s struggle against GM Zoltan Ribli of Hungary.
With no Internet then, I followed the results in the Manila Bulletin and its sister publication, Tempo, which had access to the Associated Press and Agence France-Presse.
There were six qualifiers from three Interzonal tournaments plus two seeds for a total of eight with the winner facing Karpov in 1984.
Robert Ang, accounting professor in the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila, recalled that “there were very unhappy circumstances before Torre’s departure for Alicante when he faced the prospect of being unable to leave for Spain due to lack of support. Financial difficulties hounded him every day and played havoc on his physical and mental preparation for the match. Finally, on literally the last minute the President of the Philippine Chess Federation Federico Moreno managed to come up with the tickets for Spain.”
After nine rounds, Ribli, older by only one month to Torre, crushed the Filipino, 6-4. The Hungarian, a two-time European Junior Champion and is now an international arbiter, was ousted in the next round by GM Vasily Smyslov, 6.5-4.5.
Smyslov, who died eight years ago at 89 in Moscow, was clobbered by future World Champion Garry Kasparov, 8.5-4.5
Smyslov, who lost to GM Mikhail Botvinnik in the 1953 World Chess Championship in Moscow, advanced to the semifinal round over GM Robert Huebner of West Germany.


Torre’s highest accomplishment was the same stage reached by 24-year-old Filipino Wesley So (2799), formerly the world No. 2 player who is now representing the United States.
So could eclipse Torre if he wins the Candidates Tournament 2018 that would determine 27-year-old World Champion Magnus Carlsen’s next challenger.
The tournament romped off on March 10 and winds up on March 28 in Berlin, Germany.
So, the highest-rated Filipino GM, was at the bottom with two defeats and a draw after three rounds of an eight-player double round robin chess tournament.
So is in the league with GM Sergey Karjakin (2763), GM Levon Aronian (2794), GM Ding Liren (2769), GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (2809), GM Alexander Grischuk (2767), GM Fabiano Caruana (2784), GM Vladimir Kramnik (2800).
Like Torre in Alicante, Spain, So needs the moral support of his countrymen as he struggles in Berlin. Although So now plays for the US, his battle is also our battle; his pride is also our pride; whether he wins or loses, So has already lifted the spirit of Filipinos by this scintillating performance of reaching the Candidates Tournament, a feat no other Filipino chesser in international chess competitions has achieved, except Torre, now 66.

Why Pacquiao doesn’t own Boracay West Cove

“Criticism is a misconception: we must read not to understand others but to understand ourselves.”
--Emile M. Cioran

By Alex P. Vidal

-- In the past seven years, I have been hearing a lot of people claiming--and insisting--that Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao “owns” a resort in Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan in the Philippines.
Most of them pointed to the controversial Boracay West Cove resort in Barangay Balabag.
There were instances when I corrected the misconception or misinformation, telling some of them that the resort was owned by Crisostomo “Kris” Aquino, Pacquiao’s friend (or former friend?) who used to wave the Philippine flag in the ring during Pacquiao’s world title bouts mostly in Las Vegas.
Kris’ closeness with the former WBC-IBF-WBO crownholder didn’t sit well with other jealous and envious “VIPs” (very important persons) who mostly had their own ulterior moves.
I was a witness how Aquino struggled to win Pacquiao’s trust and sympathy after engaging merchants of intrigues within the “Team Pacquiao” circle in a torrid and disgusting power play.


In a crack voice, Kris himself once confessed to me in Mandalay Bay and Resort Casino in Las Vegas there were characters trying to isolate him from the 39-year-old boxing celebrity.
After pouring out his emotions, Kris was never seen again in the ring with Pacquiao when the latter squared off versus Joshua Clottey in Texas, Antonio Margarito, Shane Mosley, Brandon Rios, Timothy Bradley Jr (first and second), Floyd Mayweather Jr., Chris Algieri in Macao, Jessie Vargas, and Jeff Horn in Brisbane.
When Kris disappeared from the entourage, his friends could only speculate: Did he fall from Pacquiao’s graces, or Kris himself decided to stay away for good because of tampo (hard feelings).
No one can tell except Kris himself.


There were those who insisted that Aquino “was only Pacquiao’s dummy” and the real owner was really the boxing champion himself.
Their basis was that Pacquiao, even before he was elected as senator in 2016, was always seen in the resort especially when he went back to the Philippines after some of his difficult fights as a former eight-division world boxing title holder in Las Vegas.
Because of Pacquiao’s friendship with then Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Joselito “Lito” Atienza, their belief that the senator owned the resort bolstered.
This was after it was discovered that the resort was able to obtain a 25-year Forest Land Use Agreement for Tourism Purposes (FLAgT) covering the resort’s 998 square meters, which paved the way for the temporary use, occupation and development of any forest land for tourism purposes for a period of 25 years renewable for another 25 years.


The resort’s pact with DENR covers forest lands to be used for bathing, camp sites, ecotourism destinations, hotel sites and other tourism purposes.
The local government of Malay finally closed down the controversial resort on March 14, 2018, weeks after Malacanang had threatened to throw the books on Malay officials who either tolerated or did nothing to stop illegal structures in the white beach.
The closure order came on the heels of Malacanang threats to close down Boracay for 60 days to pave the way for its “rehabilitation.”
If the resort was owned by Pacquiao, who is being groomed by President Duterte to be the next president, do you think it would be closed down?

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Ambushed STL exec needs a ‘padrino’

“Violence, even well intentioned, always rebounds upon oneself.”
--Lao Tzu

By Alex P. Vidal

-- If guns are blazing and the intention is to kill, there is violence.
If violence is unabated, there is a breakdown of peace and order.
If high-profile personalities like Samuel Aguilar, president of Eagle Crest Gaming and Holdings Corp., operator of STL in Iloilo province, can be ambushed by unidentified gunmen in broad daylight, there is no guarantee that ordinary people won’t be harmed by gun-toting maniacs.
Guns, or any deadly weapon for that matter, aren’t supposed to be in the hands of those who intend to create murder and mayhem; it’s the job of the police to seize loose firearms before they can be used to harm civilians.
Could the assailants have been accosted if the Iloilo Provincial Police Office (IPPO) had a check point within Brgy. Buyuan in Tigbauan town where the ambush happened?
If the area is isolated and in a national highway, it’s easy for the trigger-men to escape and avoid police check points and other dragnets.


Whether business-related or personal, Aguilar probably knows who wanted him dead especially if it was not the first attempt against his life.
Five months ago, Aguilar also reportedly survived the first attempt by unidentified gunmen to also kill him in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.
For sure, the mastermind or masterminds did not intend to only scare him.
The grapevine says that anybody who is involved in gambling operations, legal or otherwise, in Iloilo province must have a powerful "padrino" for protection and “profit-sharing.”
If Aguilar is not from Iloilo and doesn’t have a “padrino”, it’s a big “problem.”
One of the most prominent personalities in Iloilo gambling operation, a former Philippine Constabulary (PC) sergeant, was murdered in cold blood in Iloilo City four years ago.
And he was an Ilonggo.


After hurriedly announcing on February 23, 2018 that the former employers of murdered OFW Joanna Demafiles of Sara, Iloilo have been arrested, nothing has been heard again from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
As I mentioned earlier, the “arrest” of suspects Nader Essam Assaf, a Lebanese national, and his wife, Mona, a Syrian national, is one thing.
Whether they will be prosecuted and be made to answer for the grisly murder is another thing.
Let’s hope all the spectacle that attended Demafiles’ sensational case will not end up in a blunderbuss and buried in newspaper files. We need action aside from condemnation.
What now, DFA?

Monday, March 12, 2018

Treñas, Joe III feuding? Tell it to the marines

“In a false quarrel there is no true valor.”
--William Shakespeare

By Alex P. Vidal

-- I won’t gamble my fifteen cents to swallow hook, line, and sinker the suspicions--or rumors-- that Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas and Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III are now at loggerheads and heading to Splitsville.
But I won’t be surprised also if they will take advantage of the flap and use the puzzle to confuse their political enemies.
If the basis of these suspicions or rumors was the “irrevocable” resignations of the six so-called “Treñas Musketeers” -- Melchor Tan, Jose Rico, Maria Irene Ong, Hector Alejano, Mitch Antiqueña, and Rudiver Jungco Sr. -- as Joe III’s advisers, we have more reason not to fret over the present political relationship of the congressman and the city mayor.
Joe III could not have sacked the six, who were reportedly having a meeting with Treñas outside city hall when Joe III called them out for a meeting.
A case of a bad timing or the city mayor decided to abruptly call for a meeting when he learned the six were outside the barracks?
And he only wanted to show them who’s the boss when he tasked executive assistant Jojo Castro to “chide” the six and to refrain from “paddling their canoe in two rivers.”
Whether there is a tampuhan between Joe III and the six, the tampuhan does not have to translate into a full-blown political conflict.
Mature people can easily shrug off any potential time bomb that would divide and eventually bring the house into wobbly legs.


Both Treñas and Joe III could actually benefit from perception that they are having a cold war.
This would send mixed and confusing signals to their political rivals.
Treñas has already signified his intention to run again for mayor in 2019, while Joe III has not yet made up his mind whether to run for congressman, which is the only logical move if he will avoid a collision course with his bilas (their wives are sisters), or quit politics, which isn’t about to happen judging from Joe III’s excitement and appetite for public service since capturing city hall in October 2017 when the Ombudsman ousted Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog.
Could it be that Treñas and Joe III, by “acting” as Punch and Judy, were reading the Laws 6, 17, and 37 of the 48 Laws of Power?


LAW 6 (CREATE AN AIR OF MYSTERY) says, “Never make it too clear what you are doing or about to do. Do not show all your cards. Mystery and uncertainty create anticipation - everyone will want to know what comes next. Use mystery to beguile, seduce, even frighten.”
LAW 17 (KEEP OTHERS IN SUSPENSE: CULTIVATE AN AIR OF UNPREDICTABILITY) says, “Humans are creatures of habit with an insatiable need to see familiarity in other people’s actions. Your predictability gives them a sense of control. Turn the tables: be deliberately unpredictable. Behavior that seems to have no consistency or purpose will keep them off balance, and they will wear themselves out trying to explain your moves. Taken to an extreme, this strategy can intimidate and terrorize.”
“Striking imagery and grand symbolic gestures create the aura of power - everyone responds to them. Stage spectacles for those around you, then, full of arresting visuals and radiant symbols that heighten your presence. Dazzled by appearances, no one will notice what you are really doing.”
If these “laws” or the messages they convey happen to reflect some nerve-tingling coincidences and similarities in the scenarios currently unfolding in Iloilo City’s political landscape, you be the final arbiter.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Pacquiao-Roach love affair: Walang forever

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.”
--Hal Borland

By Alex P. Vidal

-- For 17 years, Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach became boxing’s version of Kirk and Michael Douglas, Julio and Enrique Iglesias, and Arthur Jr. and Douglas MacArthur.
They were a father and a son who epitomize congruence and plausibility.
It seemed like they were destined to swap engagement rings and share an epitaph.
No amount of intrigue and jealousy from other trainers and pugilists could put a dent in their solid romance as athlete-coach.
Not even a boarder wall could divide boxing’s most sensational and formidable partners.
Their collaboration since 2001 has produced some of the finest and head-turning performances in the history of prizefighting since Welsh sportsman John Graham Chambers wrote the Marquess of Queensberry Rules in 1865.
Their tandem has bankrolled the fistic game’s richest deal ever imagined, richer than what Muhammad Ali had earned in the “Rumble in the Jungle” in 1974 and “Thrilla in Manila” in 1975 combined.
Unlike David and Jonathan, whose covenant of friendship has been recorded in the books of Samuel, the Manny-Freddie liaison has been written in the mayhem inflicted on some of the marquee names run over by the Pacquiao Express.


forever,” so goes the bakya Tagalog saying.
“Everything is ephemeral: on a long enough timeline, everything ends,” suggest the minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus.
“Your relationships will end. Your happiness will end. Your depression will end. Your life will end. Nothing lasts forever--not even those diamonds in the advertisement.
Yet we live our lives like the best things will continue into perpetuity--like the good stuff will stick around and the bad stuff will go away once we obtain everything we want. But, good or bad, life is limited: everything is eventual, endings are inevitable.”
In his comeback fight on June 24, 2018 in Malaysia since losing to Jeff Horn in Brisbane on July 2, 2017, Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) will fight Golden Boy Promotions’ ace fighter, WBA welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs) for 12 rounds without Roach on his side.
For the first time since Pacquiao made a debut in Las Vegas in 2001 versus Lehlo Ledwaba for the IBF super-bantamweight diadem, Roach won’t train him before a championship bout.
The 39-year-old Pacquiao’s training will be supervised by his childhood buddy, Restituto “Buboy” Fernandez, and will be mostly held in Mindanao starting April.
It appears there was a falling out between Top Rank’s Bob Arum and the MP Promotions owned by the senator-boxer regarding the latter’s tax troubles with the IRS which has remained unsettled.
The Malaysia fisticuffs need at least $15 million and Arum remains skeptical unless an affront fund of $5 million has been released.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Herbert Vego’s pain

“During my days of deepest grief, in all of my shock, sorrow and struggle, I sat at the feet of God. I literally spent hours each day reading God's word, meditating on scripture and praying. I intentionally spent a significant amount of time being still before God.”
--Rick Warren

By Alex P. Vidal

-- Only a handful of people know the weight being carried nowadays by our senior media colleague, Mr. Herbert Vego, inside his heart and mind.
I learned about this “weight” buried deep inside Mr. Vego’s heart and mind when I was in New Jersey in January this year.
Some of our friends, who have seen Mr. Vego these past weeks, may have noticed something unusual in the way he speaks and the sadness that illuminates in his 68-year-old face.
It is the kind of grief we normally see in the face of a moribund man; the kind of melancholy that can only be washed away by Divine Intervention.


Thus, the punches Mr. Vego absorbed on the face when he was attacked by barangay captain Sumakwel Nava in the coffee shop of Hotel del Rio in Iloilo City on March 7 were peanuts compared to the real pain he has been concealing in his heart and mind these past two months.
Mr. Vego would probably be willing to take more of those punches and other physical “punishments” if they could only solve and instantly expunge the real thorn that has been tormenting his heart and mind since January this year.
If you will know what this problem is, you will probably embrace Mr. Vego instead of hurting him physically.


I would like to share this letter to Mr. Herbert Vego entitled “Daddy” by Mindy Pfankuch Pfankuch


You were one of the first I laid eyes on when I came into this world
I didn't know you at first but you were my daddy and later to become my hero
You were one of the first I loved
I chose you over my pink stuffed bear
I loved how you'd pick my up and hug me I'd feel so secure
You'd lift me with one arm way above your head and play helicopter
As I started to grow you taught me to stand and walk
You'd guide me so carefully so I wouldn't fall
Once I began to walk on my own you stood close by just in case I fell down
If I did you'd pick me up -
Wipe the tears off my face and kiss my pain away
Once I got older I didn't need your help walking but I needed your love and time
We'd play basketball, if I couldn't reach the basket you'd lift me up so I could -
Making me feel like I was number one
You taught me how to shoot a gun and to not be afraid
You always helped me find a car in my price range that I liked
You showed me how to change the oil in my car,
I'm the only one of my friends that knows how, which make me feel smart
You'd do almost anything to see me happy
You always encourage me to try my best, and support me one hundred and ten percent
I've come to realize that I'm a lot like you
You help me realize common sense isn't that common
You also taught me to be witty
I follow in your steps of being a smart aleck
You taught me how to deal with people and how to get what I want
And when ever some one says:
You're just like your dad I can't help but smile and be proud
You're not only my dad but you're my hero
Dad even though I'm growing up I still need your loving bear hugs,
And encouraging words of wisdom
Don't forget I will always be your little baby girl
And you will always be my loving father and hero
I love you dad!

Love always Mindy

Monday, March 5, 2018

Like a Miss Universe with a body odor

“I hate to say this, but I'll repeat it: After death, all we know that you do is stink.”
--Jack Kevorkian

By Alex P. Vidal

NEWARK, New Jersey
-- Let’s not be confused by the ongoing furor over Boracay Island, tagged as a “cesspool” by President Duterte, and threatened with a closure after being hounded by an ecological crisis.
Boracay isn’t doomed yet. It is still pristine as anyone who has been there can imagine.
It hasn’t lost its luster and beauty in the eyes of a true-blue beach goer.
As a matter of fact, statistics show more visitors from all corners of the globe continue to arrive weeks after the presidential dressing down.
Tourists are unfazed by Boracay’s environmental woes and aren’t worried by the danger of swallowing algae in the waters.
There is no doubt that the white beach in Malay, Aklan in the Philippines remains to be one of the best beaches in the world.
In fact, in TripAdvisor's 2018 Traveler's Choice Awards, the island located in the central Philippines ranks second among white beaches in Asia.


The problems on environment and apparent neglect by some municipal officials are matters that Boracay stakeholders and the local government unit (LGU) will have to address seriously if we hope to sustain the beach’s life and reputation.
Just like other tourist spots anywhere in the world, Boracay has its own share of infamy and infirmities.
There is no perfect tourist destination in the world.
Even individual beauties have demerits and foibles.
Not all bodybuilding icons are healthy.
Not all beauty titlists have excellent hygiene.
Boracay’s case can be likened to a Miss Universe with a body odor.
The facade is startling, but underneath the armpits, there’s a stink that even a loving mother can’t tolerate and bear inhaling.
President Duterte and the environment and local government officials are the loving mothers trying to convince the Miss Universe daughter to take a bath and eradicate the unwanted dead rats in spaces between body and arms.
Amid the admonition and cleanliness program, life must go on for the Miss Universe.
In other words, Boracay should still be “business as usual” amid the hullabaloo.


Nothing can now stop the P11.2-billion Jalaur River Multipurpose Phase II (JRMP II) project in Calinog, Iloilo.
Once the project’s actual construction unfolds in June this year, more Ilonggos will be benefited--from vendors to suppliers of construction materials, and job seekers.
More importantly it will solve the perennial problem on flash floods, irrigation of 32,000 hectares of farm lands, supply of water to households and business, and produce some 17,000 local jobs.
Due to its economic costs, social and environmental impacts and potential for environmental disasters it was dubbed as a “mega damn”.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Treñas, Joe III shutting the political doors

“In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.”
--George Orwell

By Alex P. Vidal

NEWARK, New Jersey
-- As expected, those who are for and against Iloilo City lone district Rep. Jerry P. Treñas couldn’t hide their emotions when he disclosed over the weekend his intention to run again for city mayor in 2019.
For those who admire Treñas, the announcement was like a Broadway music to their ears.
For those who hate him, especially those intending to run for city mayor but are nervous to square off with him owing to his “vast” machinery and name-recall edge, the disclosure of Treñas 2019 candidacy was like a rhythmic sound from a horror or zombie film.
In fact, the announcement of Treñas’ candidacy was already “too much to bear” for the opposition.


The unexpected ascension to power of Iloilo City Mayor Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III in October 2017 was already a big blow to the opposition which was having a field day watching Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog being destroyed by President Duterte’s repeated but unfounded accusations of being a “narco politician.”
The opposition waited on tenterhooks for Mabilog to capitulate from Duterte’s demolition apparatus and deliver their own coup de grâce in time for the 2019 political derby.
The opposition believed that during election time, it’s easy to clobber the badly battered Mabilog just in case he aspired for congress.
But the picture changed abruptly when the Office of the Ombudsman dismissed Mabilog and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) installed then acting city mayor Espinosa III in a full-fledged capacity.
By being given the chance and privilege to become “instant” mayor and finish Mabilog’s remaining term, Espinosa III was able to expand his wherewithal and pull ahead of his potential rivals in 2019 in the event he decides to run for mayor.


If Espinosa III will run for congress in tandem with mayoral bet Treñas next year, it’s tantamount to shutting the door on lesser-known aspirants for the same positions.
In terms of logistics and name-recall, the incumbents always have the peripheral edge in any election.
And if they are the administration candidates, their opponents would need a stairway to heaven to mount a miracle to win.
Not to underestimate them, the opposition still parades a wealth of quality leaders the Ilonggos can be proud of like Dr. Pacita Trinidad-Gonzalez, her daughter Dr. Marigold “Gold” Gonzalez, Vice Mayor Jeffrey Ganzon, Councilors Joshua Alim and Plaridel Nava, businessman-journalist Rommel Ynion, former councilor Rolando Dabao, and former Erap impeachment trial prosecutor Daniel Cartagena, to name only a few.


Treñas’ candidacy will, however, bring additional agony and headache for the opposition which, for the past four consecutive elections, could not find the magic key to unlock the path to the winning column.
After absorbing defeat after defeat, the opposition continues to scramble for politically sturdy candidates who can match the ferocity of the Mabilog-Treñas-Espinosa III triumvirate.
Minus Mabilog, Treñas and Espinosa III appear to be capable of closing the gates for other aspirants.
All they need is to swap.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Alex P. Vidal Quotes (Death, Problems)

Death is the solution to all problems. No man - no problem.

God did not allow problems to exist so that man will perish if he is unable to solve them. Problem is a polarity in life. Without it we will have no time or even interest to call, remember, or acknowledge God’s omnipotence and omniscience.