Saturday, October 11, 2008


The picture above is our country's first ever senate assembly with real honorable senators in attendance. Today, with a number of senators gearing up to evolve into presidential timber status but making a mockery of the elected positions they now occupy, mud-slinging, silly antics and all just to gain media mileage in preparation for the 2010 presidential race, one senator will probably still get my vote if and when he runs for president, except for the unfortunate and inescapable reality that his present girlfriend of old could be first lady if and when he wins - for a spouse must be gracious, likeable, well-mannered and humble in all her achievements in life. She definitely has "K," for 'kapal.' I am pertaining to Mr. Palengke himself, Senator Mar Roxas whose organization recruited me in 2004 to head his media bureau when he first ran for the Senate, up until some baduy and bad advertising advertising agency got in the picture and grabbed all the credit. Mar won hands down and even topped that contest. I must admit that I was quite impressed with Mar's data infobank, a rich compilation of anything and everything one needs to know about the Philippines top to bottom. A tolerable Atenista, as I always used to joke about him, Mar has the lineage and the pedigree needed to add honor to such a high position he could someday occupy. Mar has in his genes the intellectual prowess of his father, the late Senator Gerry Roxas, and of course his equally brilliant and compleat grandfather President Manuel Acuna Roxas. On his maternal side, he certainly has the charm and class of his mother, Judy Araneta Roxas. And how can I forget the spunk and boldness of his late brother Dinggoy? I heard he is also doing a good job these days as a single parent. As I do get to observe his performance in the Senate, I can't help but compare him with the others, but how do you compare him with Senator Lito Lapid who I suspect always has a brain-freeze seizure each time he's on the Senate floor or simply in attendance? One other lady senator I do admire, contrary to what many of her critics say is Jamby Madrigal. She has cojones! Balls which other senators do not have. Other than the fact that I adore her for raising wonderful Whippets of which I happen to be an indirect recipient of a darling one (used to be two), is the fact that she really does her homework and goes straight down to serious business during the senate deliberations. Whatever her critics say of her, she would make a great graft-buster and guardian of the people's rights. It's really not her fault if she was born wealthy. I'd pick her anytime of the day compared with other senators who simply want to finish their respective terms rich. Mar and Jamby's family have a long-standing friendship with my family which started from our grandfathers. When Mar speaks, everyone listens. When Jamby speaks, everyone is all ears. But when Lito Lapid speaks, everyone is in disbelief and are instantly reminded that he still breathes. If Mar plays his cards right, he could be our president someday. Other blabber-mouths like Dick Gordon are better off just being head of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), and are better off selling dinuguan on the side at the the perimeter fences of the SBMA (Subic). Chiz Escudero should team up with Manny Pacquiao in 2010 for a president/vice-president tandem and their slogan should be, "Vote Champ with Chiz!" Jinggoy is terrible as committee chair. He should do his homework and lose some weight lest he be our local version of Bibendum, the love-handled or 'bil-bil' mascot of Michelin Tires. Biazon is still his usual tackless and ill-mannered soldier self. I remember one senate hearing where he was grilling a witness invited to appear before the committee whose surname was Pone (pronounced Pon-ye). As Biazon was asking straight questions to the gentleman, he shifted to ask, "are you sure walang 'TA' ang apelyido mo sa huli?" It only shows the kind of ill-bred and stinky-mannered senator we voted in office. Never again, given the chance. He should go back to the barracks. Bong Revilla is probably tired-bored these days counting lizards on the senate ceilings, and sweating it out trying to finish his 'four-letter word only' crossword puzzle. This is one guy who to this day still doesn't know if he's a mediocre senator or a joker actor. And speaking of Joker, how can one ignore Joker Arroyo and his campaign slogan, "pag bad ka, lagot ka!" I think because of his senile stage, he has now confused the word "bad" with "good." And tell me honestly, how serious can you take a senator whose first name is Joker? What were his parents thinking when he was christened? Were they playing cards? But okay, I confess, I'd probably pick his first name any time of the day instead of his last, being a namesake of the illegal occupant in Malacanang, now linked to corruption and illegitimacy since day one of her term. Of course with Manny Villar, whose campaign slogan "sipag at tiyaga," has now been changed without his approval to "C-5 at taga!" due to alleged illegal insertions that benefited his real estate companies. He should also change his surname from Villar to Bilyar. After all, he is now the top patron of pocket billiards in the Philippines having recently sponsored a successful billiards tournament aptly called the 'Villar Cup.' Ping Lacson is his own attack-dog except for his pretty looks on billboards on our main thoroughfares. His PR consultant should advice him to stop endorsing beauty and health products. It makes one wonder if he belongs to the third sex, and people might start calling him Pingky Lacson. Miriam Defensor-Santiago will definitely not be given any chance to endorse any beauty product on billboards, unless of course MGM Pictures puts her face along EDSA to promote their forthcoming blockbuster film entitled, "Godzilla in Manila." Kiko Pangilinan is our perpetual senator who still hides behind Sharon Cuneta's Super Ferry-sized skirts, thumbsucking and all, wearing a UP Centennial boxer shorts. The pseudonym Kiko Cuneta has a nice ring to it though. Migs Zubiri and his Jathropa are gaining momentum but as usual, he's all biogas! Loren Legarda has the reputation of having planted more billboards than trees, and the hostess with the mostest husbands, having shifted to Islam, so I heard. And how can one forget Johnny Enrile who at 85 still looks very good. Of course, one can never forget his admission to a fake ambush done on him once upon a time, and the padding of votes for Marcos in his Cagayan Province. And how about Nene Pimentel? Some pharmaceutical company should get him as their honorable guinea pig to experiment on the causes of eye bags in adolescents up to old age, for pretty soon he may have to check in his eyebags at the airport next time he travels. Pia Cayetano is Alan Peter with long hair as Alan Peter is Pia with short hair. They both magnify the second and third syllables of the word 'dynasty.' As for Sonny Trillanes, well, he still has to set foot in the senate not armed but charmed. He should remind General Esperon that next time he takes his tank for a drive in the Manila Peninsula - literally, that the hotel has a basement parking and valet service as well. Duh! But seriously, I think that a popular individual with a celebrity status should be more careful not to be easily lured into seeking public office, especially if the same knows he will not be of good use at all. They should emulate the great Dolphy, when asked if he was running for national public office to which he simply replied, "e paano kung manalo?" Look at the wasted and inutile positions of the onerous Bong Revilla and Lito Lapid and the elected office they occupy, including their PhP200 million plus each year budget. A senator's office is an ultra-serious responsibility and undertaking. For unlike the congressman who has a direct constituency, a senator virtually has none, meaning that the entire citizenry is his constituency and must at all times exercise sound statesmanship. The senate floor is sacred ground and on it are the invisible footprints and imprints of our senators of old who have protected its sanctity and pureness in the noble duty of legislating sound laws for our land. It is not and should never be an extension of a vaudeville stage or of some extended TV studio of a major network showing idiotic noontime shows like 'Wowowee' with its equally idiotic host. Now I know why I can never complete the senatorial list on my ballot every election day.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


The present day tragedy hitting banks globally due to the economic crash of this era is a result of man's greed for more wealth. It is also the manner in which he acquires them regardless of the ripples he creates ending later as a juggernaut-tsunami. A walking bottomless pit, unmindful of the imminent repercussions. In 1981, a bank scandal rocked the financial community in Manila because of one single greedy banker. His name was Dewey Dee, a Chinese-Filipino whose clan was prominent in the local business circles, proprietor of the Continental Manufacturing Corporation (CMC) which powerfully controlled around 85 percent of the acrylic yarn trade for export, and a banking entrepreneur who was labeled as one gifted with financial banking prowess and genius. He would go on to prove them all right soon after, but in a sinister fashion. In 1980, a bank in Manila, the Security Bank and Trust Company (SBTC) was acquired by nameless Chinoy investors led by Dee and two other Chinoys namely Philip Ang and Ramon Siy. The chair of the bank was a certain Rolando Gapud. One such other stockholder was the more famous Jose Y. Campos. Sometime in March of the same year, a firm in the U.S. Virgin Islands under the name Empire Holdings Inc. purchased a modest bank in San Francisco, California for some US$ 15.3 million, a very huge amount during that time. Well, it still is even today. That bank was the Redwood Bank. Empire Holdings had three wealthy shareholders - Dee, Ang and Siy, while Gapud served as director of Redwood Bank. By January 1981, Dee had vanished in thin air. Some believed he amassed gambling debts in Macau and in Las Vegas amounting in several millions of dollars. He participated in the commodities game and in stocks in Hong Kong, but didn't succeed, and when he fled the Philippines (0n board PAL flight #81?), it was estimated that he left behind debts to the tune of PhP635 million (US$ 84.7 million was its equivalent then). The Chinese community was shocked and rocked with shame because of this, and it was a public relations nightmare as well for many of them in the banking sector, for Chinoy credibility was instantly dead as a doornail. The local banking community was in a state of paralysis and comatose. Then, like a toxic mushroom sprouting one sunny summer morning, Dee resurfaced somewhere in Canada in 1983 while applying for an immigrant visa. This was the largest if not one of the largest financial scandals in the Philippine banking industry and history, causing a severe crisis in our banking system, pushing our banks' panic buttons. Credit was even squeezed tighter and the roll-over of all loans were put to a halt. I wonder, is Dewey Dee related to our present-day certified GMA "sip-sip" Donald Dee of the PCCI and SSS, whose canine closeness to her, being a mother dog herself, reaped many business favors for him? If he is, then we should keep a close watch on himself as well. Today, as banks and financial hubs worldwide are wheeled in the ICU on a daily basis brought about by traces of their own versions of Dewey Dee - greedy and dangerous to the banking community, and with grossly over-compensated bank CEOs having the time of their lives on board private yachts and steamy spas with millions stashed away in their private vaults, one really wonders of a safe place to keep one's wealth, however humble and hard-earned. I'm glad I don't have that immediate concern, and I think it's really one of the rare advantages of being cash-broke, just putting my money in my now emaciated piggy bank. I remember one of my father's philosophy regarding this when he once told me, "When you make that final journey home, the less gold you carry, the lighter the trip will be."
(Image from

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

"He doeth everything immoral and staggereth like a drunkard, slipping on his own vomit." - Isaiah 19:14

Drunkenness is a serious social, health, moral and credibility problem. It breaks up families, it ruins careers, it destroys bodies and it tears friendships apart. Sometimes, it even cuts short a person's life. Today, many Christians conclude that moderation is good - but abstinence is much better, especially in view of the clear dangers inherent in drunkenness. Alcohol is a mind-altering drug that if taken frequently and repeatedly can be psychologically and physically addicting. Drinking may fall into the category of an act that is permissible, as evidenced by some church leaders, but certainly not beneficial. If questionable behavior such as drinking alcoholic beverages (like San Miguel Beer, Lites included) controls the drinker, hurts the body, numbs sensation, dulls the mind, makes one susceptible to immorality and other sins, causes harm to other people, or makes another believer stumble and fall, then such practices should be avoided and abandoned. Most times, believers, and most especially pastors and church leaders must choose to use self-restraint because this will be for the good and growth of the church. However, there are times when a pastor thinks he is indispensable, incorruptible, indisputable and unpenetrable. Instead, he goes on to penetrate other people's lives - literally and figuratively. I just had an interesting meeting with my friend who, again, had quite a mouthful to share, including the story of a helpless 15-year old girl our subject wolf molested some years back, and the equally disturbing story of a 17-year old female food attendant this drooling dog preyed on. I am told by my friend that this girl could be coming out in the open soon to tell all, and consecutively other victims as well. But that, among others more will be for future dark prosperity series. Several weeks ago, before our subject wolf was relieved from the church he prostituted, he haphazardly started a 'weekly singles meeting' aimed to tackle the usual expectations of a normal youung single adult. This sounds perfectly fine except for the fact that he had originally planned this to cater only for the young female single members of the church. The reason? He wanted to share some 'secrets' to these lasses for them to learn to deal with pressures from their boyfriends. What a perverted intention. I think this is clearly a sinister way to 'round up the sheep' and 'check them out' to see who among them would make it in his little book under the entry 'future victims.' That's why I have always believed that as real as Moslems have one God and three wives, Christians on the other hand must have three Gods (Father God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, all three in one) and only one wife. My friend goes on to share something that was a major turn-off for me. Subject wolf's original plan concerning church membership, if he had it his own way, would only be for a select group of people who would pass his criteria in economic status, financial soundness, etc. In short, if you're poor, his church doors are only a few centimeters open, thus making it impossible for you to enter, but only for your head to take a quick peek. On the other hand, if you're rich, then the doors are wide open exclusively for you with a matching red carpet and rose petals scattered all over to make you feel instantly welcome. This clearly fits perfectly with his self-serving cultish ideology that prosperity is simply just all about money and material wealth, such as numerous bank accounts, a big house (but not a home), and the latest gas-guzzling Euro-Am imports. The other blessings like a healthy body, long life, sober children (not drug addicts), a happy marriage, a good night's sleep and true friends who remind you when you're over-sinning are only secondary. Meaning, to be truly favored by the Almighty, "you need to be prosperous and rich and materially endowed, otherwise, it would be impossible for you to help others in need if you too are in lack." Now, can't the poor help the fellow-poor in several other ways besides financial dole-outs? What happens now to good deeds and neighborly love? Is this all about just money now? Yes, sad to say it is for him. He would rather rub elbows with the powerful and the wealthy instead of the unwashed and the inadequate. But not even God would be in his shoes! For in God's church, the doors are wide open 24/7 for all who wish to enter - especially the poor and the lost. In fact, not everybody is called to be rich and prosperous, otherwise, what need does man have for God if he has everything on Earth? The poor are still closest to God's pure heart, but the false teachers are somewhere under His feet. When prosperity has a dark purpose, it does not wish to know anything about God's law intended to be engraved in the hearts of all men. It does not listen to the voice of conscience and it turns against humanity and society, and to God as well. Now, on the subject matter, and if there is anyone I put my trust next only to God in all its true meaning, I put that on my grandfather, the late Jorge Bocobo, church-builder, moral crusader and author of the Civil Code of the Philippines and the entire brown race, who fervently said in one of his lay sermons, "True prosperity is worthy of honor and respect. It is living out God's will for your life....It should measure success not in terms of lands, houses, material wealth and a large bank account, but by helpfulness to others, by having rendered service to the poor, by having stood for righteousness at any cost. It fights wrong and oppression in every form." Here, he speaks of the noble and inherent character of prosperity, perhaps knowing that a few decades after, some egotistical pretender would be preaching on the other kind of prosperity - the ersatz and shallow kind he subscribes to. Well, for me, I believe that drunkenness and sexual immorality are a perpetual pair. Somewhat like a Tom and Jerry duo. One makes it easier for the other to accomplish its dark intentions. Or perhaps like the caped crusaders Batman and Robin? But our guy has no cape but a hood to conceal his true identity, a seasoned con-artist, and the best solution to this is to gag him for good, lest he misleads a multitude again to eternal damnation. Let all those concerned with this guy's well-being defend him and find solace and comfort with each other, contradicting all accusations hurled at their boy and finding them preposterous, "exaggerated and unfounded," for after all, even a felon has every right to a counsel - wise or otherwise. Remember cult leader Jim Jones and his People's Temple in Jonestown, Guyana, when after he was convinced by his dark intentions that he had a good number of blind followers who would do absolutely anything he would tell them to do? Well, that's exactly what he did soon after. The day came for him to put their fanaticism to the test, and after delivering what would be his last sermon, instructed his accomplices to distribute to everyone Dixie cups containing Kool-Aid mixed with Cyanide. He told them it was poison and that it was time for all of them, himself included to "move on to the afterlife." And soon after he gave the signal for all to drink the contents in their respective cups, close to a thousand of his fanatics (many children) were all dead in an hour. Jim Jones may be long gone, but our anonymous 'John Doe' is alive and well somewhere in Metro Manila on the prowl to recruit his own set of fanatics. Just a word of caution: next time he offers you a violet-colored drink from a styro cup in a "happy fastfood outlet," make sure it's just plain old grape juice, and not the same liquid Jim Jones concocted for his fanatics. It's really sad to know that there are still individuals who are trapped in his net but have also chosen to stay in that same place somewhat comfortably. Individuals who would rather look blindly at the preacher of the Word and would refuse to see clearly the wrongdoings of the latter, and would not do anything to correct them, for when sin is not followed by repentance, it will surely be followed by judgment. I challenge them now to look clearly at the Author of the Word instead of the preacher of the Word. Believe me, it's good medicine from God and not from some vacuous and temporary relief from an 'albularyo' pretending to be a man of God. May the very same God deliver us from the cowardice that dare not face new truths, from the laziness that is content with half-truths, and from the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


A pet peeve is a minor annoyance that can instill great frustration in an individual. At worse, it can wreck his day. The picture above is a perfect example of a daily occuring pet peeve of practically anyone. See how that huge SUV is unevenly parked, and in a slot specifically just for compacts? The term originated from the word 'peeve'. Pet peeves involve complaints about specific behaviors, rather than general dissatisfaction. Pet peeves often involve people around you, and may be about manners, disregard to other people's rights, or just simple annoying behavior. UNDERTOW posts its list of pet peeves (starting today) based on a first-hand account of daily life in the urban jungle of Metro Manila.

My top 10 pet peeves for this post are as follows:

1. Motorcycle escort cops who bully and weave their way past you. (Where's a banana peel when you need one?)
2. Ambulance chasers (Literally, and the next vehicle tailgating a speeding ambulance. (If he's already dead, what's the rush then?)
3. Slow-moving, time-wasting Mercury Drug counter sales people. (Please hurry and stop gossiping! I'm having a coronary!)
4. McDonald's and Jollibee counter girls who rudely interrupt you while you're still ordering your food. ("Large Coke and fries for that?" "No, just a small mouth and make it quick please!")
5. Real-estate agents who block your path as they hand you their company brochure. (Which is really their subtle way of telling you to please throw the brochure for them in the nearest garbage bin.)
6. MRT passengers who idiotically insist on boarding before allowing disembarking passengers to do just that. ("Step aside, salmon face!")
7. Mall security guards who poke your bag with a chopstick. ("I have a bomb, but your stick can't detect it.")
8. People who brush their teeth and wash their plates and utensils (spoon and fork) inside a public restroom. (While you're at it, please wash your face in the toilet bowl.)
9. Underbone motorcyclists who play loud music on the road and wear their crash helmets halfway in. (Deaf and dumb riders!)
10. Jeepney and bus passengers who smoke cigarets while on board with you. ("Hey buddy, second-hand smoke can kill ..... you!")