Friday, July 03, 2009


General Douglas MacArthur and the other Americans who waded ashore on Palo, Leyte in 1944 should not be the only ones honored in this year's Leyte Landing commemoration rites come October. Filipino guerillas must also take center stage, for they were the ones who helped make that landing possible by mounting operations against the Japanese in the weeks before the invasion.

One of those men who waded ashore with Gen. MacArthur was a certain Antonio Madrigal. What has become of him? At that time, he was a 26-year-old captain serving as military aide to President Sergio Osmena. A few years ago during another Leyte Landing celebration, Captain Madrigal was presented by then Executive Secretary Teofisto Guingona, to which the former was honored with a state decoration and citation.

Captain Madrigal was asked many questions about the landing itself. He was asked, for instance, whether it was true that Brig. Gen. Carlos P. Romulo - who was very short, nearly drowned when Gen. MacArthur's party got off the landing barge and started wading ashore. That was just a big joke, Madrigal said. He also recalled that among the persons who met the Americans was a pretty young girl named Imelda Romualdez. Even at that time, he said, her beauty was striking.


The Philippine Air Force (PAF) should bill some senators and congressmen, some members of the judiciary and the cabinet for the use of its planes and choppers. These honorable folks are notorious for using PAF aircraft for their out of town "inspection trips," most of which are really just visits to their home provinces in order to stand as wedding and baptismal sponsors, including town fiestas. Can you imagine the amount of fuel that is consumed and wasted by these opportunists?

Top military officers who have such callous clout are also guilty of using PAF aircraft to visit their haciendas, ranches and fishponds in their respective provinces, and sometimes also to bring their girl friends to beach and mountain resorts.

Billing officials of the military, judiciary, legislative and executive brances for the use of PAF planes and choppers is only but the proper thing to do, especially if such an important military component such as the Philippine Air Force (PAF) is low on budget much-needed for modernization. As such, many legislators are notorious for abusing military aircraft and other government vehicles for so long that it has been an "acceptable bad habit" of those in high places.

It is common knowledge that the biggest offenders to this are re-electionist senators and congresmen who have no compunction about abusing government resources for their selfish political plans. Hence, these officials must pay up, or brace themselves for yet another scandal in the offing involving the wanton use and waste of unauthorized resources they claim with such a lie as a privilege. But, the people will always have these shameless actions in mind when they vote for their "public servants" next year.

(Image from

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


The 2010 May Elections are less than a year away, and already the Comelec has sadly "dis-automated" itself, leaving the entire nation hostage to yet another possible part 2 of "Hello Garci." But, the Comelec should this time go slow in deputizing certain private groups, especially those identified with the church, as Comelec units charged with election duties particularly the tabulation of election returns.

Two such groups have become notorious for meddling in past elections and for promoting their candidates, most of whom were also said to to be favored by the church. Most officials of such organizations are known church lay-people who had come out in favor of certain church-backed candidates.

These groups should not be deputized again by the Comelec because of their known favorites, which will preclude them from being neutral in the elections, especially when they conduct quick-count duties. A banking official and a member of one of these groups was a rabid partisan of then presidential candidate Corazon Aquino, who was later appointed to a top position in the Comelec. He did not hesitate to wield his powers while in the poll body, highly-influenced as he was by his political biases and strong opinions. Comelec Chairman Jose Melo should be advised that no private poll groups be allowed to conduct quick-counts in view of bad experiences in the past where such quick-counts had been rigged in favor of certain candidates. If this is unavoidable, then the best thing for Melo to make sure is that these groups should be totally non-partisan and do not favor any one candidate over the others. In addition, certain private poll organizations are the recipients of financial support from certain foreign governments. These groups should likewise be barred from being deputized as Comelec arms.


Everywhere one goes, one witnesses some form of harassment inflicted on someone. And the most frequent yet subtle of all is sexual harassment. Some years back, then President Ramos signed into law the much-feared anti-sexual harassment bill which came as a relief to those subjected daily to sexual harassment from sex-starved perverts.

I list the following as some of the more obvious harassors and their harassees:

- professor and student
- government official and employee
- movie producer/director and starlet
- airline pilot and stewardess
- bank official and bank teller
- store owner and saleslady
- policeman and waitress
- society matron and dance instructor
- editor and reporter
- radio/television executive and talent applicant
- medical director/doctor and nurse
- military officer and WAC
- hotel executive and front desk staffer
- tricycle driver and passenger
- taxi driver and passenger
- swimming instructor and pupil
- mayor's inspection team member and night club entertainer
- policeman and GRO
- husband and estranged wife
- pastor/priest and church member/goer

Remember, we do have a law, and victims can punish these people. To begin with, your local Barangay can assist you when filing a complaint against an offender, but be careful as there are also cases between Barangay officials and complainants.

Monday, June 29, 2009


We better brace up for a juggernaut of political gibberish that will continue to pour in until the second quarter of next year. The best attitude for us to take would be to treat such political chatter as empty promises, and then hope that at least a portion of this bull would consist of sincere promises which the candidates will fulfill once elected. Some of the phrases and pledges voters will hear are the following. I have attempted to interpret them for the trusting voters.

- Declaration: "I am pro-God, pro-life and pro-family." Interpretation: "I hope the church leaders will close their eyes to my sinister and reprehensible faults and endorse me in their pastoral letters. Likewise, Bro. Mike Velarde and Bro. Eddie Villanueva."

- Declaration: "I simply want to serve the people." Interpretation: "After of course I have amassed millions to take care of my family and relatives so that I don't have to worry about their future and concentrate on how to ease the lot of the people."

- Declaration: "The Philippines for the Filipinos." Interpretation: "Although this should not bar me from accepting huge lobby money from Chinese, American, Japanese, Malaysian, Indonesian and Spanish investors who want government protection."

- Declaration: "Judge me by my track record." Interpretation: "All those accusations that I have stolen from the treasury and that I have almost nothing to show for accomplishments are mere black propaganda and are all politically motivated by my opponents."

- Declaration: "Use your conscience when you enter the polling booth." Interpretation: "But of course you can make me an exception and write down my name."

- Declaration: "The youth is the future of this country." Interpretation: "That is why I am sending my children to the most exclusive schools here and abroad and opening bank accounts in their names. The fact that the money I had stolen for my children belongs to the public is only incidental."

- Declaration: "We have to preserve the democratic way of life." Interpretation: "Under a setup where I am most happy, i.e., where they don't send thieving officials to face a firing squad and where crooked officials may hire the best lawyers and retain the best law firms and escape imprisonment."

- Declaration: "I am going to serve for only one term." Interpretation: "Unless of course there is a clamor from the people (whom I have paid), made upon the prodding of political leaders, most of whom are my stooges"

- Declaration: "My life is an open book." Interpretation: "Until they discover the unexpurgated version which would have been a bestseller on crime and passion actually, outright pornography."

- Declaration: "Always go for the winner." Interpretation: "Why waste your votes on upright, honest, sincere and dedicated candidates who cannot even pay for your jeepney fares for the trip to the polling booths? The line forms to the right for my 'winning' formula of buying your votes."

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Do you remember how then Manila Mayor Lito Atienza stonewalled on his rejection of a plea by cultural leaders and heritage conservationists not to demolish the old art-deco Jai-Alai building they claimed was a historical landmark? Atienza was in favor of a new hall of justice to take the place of an old edifice, perhaps a favorite hang-out once of our grandparents. He angrily scolded the civic leaders seeking retention of the original Jai-Alai building saying that these people had long neglected the structure until it became rickety and abandoned, where nothing about it was done. The former mayor said the building was an ugly reminder of its past as a gambling place where many lives were destroyed and the morals of the young were warped by gambling lords controlling the Basque Pelota games. This from a guy who moonlights as a valet for Manny Pacquiao, where gambling lords are known to bet heavily on the champ each time he boxes. Gambling as against justice for the people? Atienza argued no way would he give in to the demands of the petitioners to save a cultural heritage.

He may have a point here, but it is arguable. Many had said that if he really wanted a hall of justice, there was the old GSIS building right beside the Manila City Hall and several nearby government properties he could have easily asked for a song from Malacanang to build his proposed multi-million peso hall of justice.

The Jai-Alai in the 1930s and the 1940s wasn't just a gambling establishment. It was the venue for important official and social functions mostly at the Sky Room which was also a favorite place of President Quezon, and it was a place where important social events were held with the country's political, social and economic elite gathered, often led by the powerful Madrigal family which built the establishment. Jai-Alai then was not just a form of gambling. It was an elegant and genteel form of entertainment with all the fineries of European (Spanish) nobility, much like those seen in British peerage gatherings as the blue blood races at Ascot and the annual sculling contests between Harvard and Yale in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Atienza should never forget that Rome never tore down its famed Colosseum, which was the venue for glory gladiator fights, the massacre of Christian martyrs, and the scene of gruesome death combats by slaves to entertain blood-thirsty Romans. If the rulers then had the same time mindset shared by Atienza, that awe-inspiring ruins would be no more. Warsaw, Poland was the most destroyed city in World War II followed only by Manila. 83 percent of the city was bombed flat to the ground, and since then has risen to become one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The Poles preserved all the remaining old buildings and went further by rebuilding those heritage edifices destroyed by the war. Even the cobblestones in most of the city were restored. As a result of such love for the past, the historic facade of Stare Miasto (Old Town) was reconstructed to include the impressive Royal Castle and Museum, and even the age-old royal apartments. They also restored Renaissance and Baroque Rynek Starego Miasta (The Market Square) even when there were others who urged these to be demolished.

Didn't they say, especially our old folks, that if you don't honor the past, there will be no future for you? But Atienza probably didn't have the time to be sentimental about the past long forgotten. He was too busy pushing to reach the top of the hill. And sometimes, when you have such apathy, you stumble.
Well, he's running for mayor again in Manila in 2010, perhaps not contented with his demolition jobs for Manila's historic edifices?

Remember the Mehan Garden? He tore it down too.