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Winston "Arf-Arf" Arpon
PMA '64


Puno (ng) Possibilities

My attention was called to an error in last week's issue.

It is Barack Obama, not Barrack Obama (see WTW 09-01-21;  To Barrack Obama and Ramon Farolan:  A Memo).

I stand corrected.

You think I would  have  misspelled it if it were John McCain?

If there's anybody in the Philippines who should be likened to Barack Obama, it is Joseph Estrada, according to Erap's spokesperson, citing several similarities: inspiring people; married to professionals; charisma; overwhelming election majority. 

Aides of PBO could conceivably concede these, to be sure not without reluctance and reservation, but they would hope the similarities end here. Being ousted as President like Erap is one similarity an Obama can do without.    

Barack Obama and Ramon Farolan were the center-"piece" of last week's WTW.

Quoted verbatim, the emoticon included, is the feedback on Obama from WTW's  correspondent in Virginia who, for now,  must remain nameless:

"Washington DC has been a very busy place these past four days. I tried, but was not successful in reaching Pres. Obama to deliver your memo 😉 If only he will have a chance to read your memo, I'm sure he will answer, "yes, we can!""
We still have to hear from the other center-"piece" of WTW, our very own Cavalier Farolan. I sent him an email, cc to two of his "plebes" in Loakan in 1956, after it became clear that even a delayed reaction from him was not forthcoming.

But I dare not say he's "not giving a damn," like I would have said, at Loakan barracks, in my petulant, plebeian years.
A response, any response, from an  accomplished columnist like Cavalier Farolan, I figured, would have been most encoraging for a columnist wannabe like me, and the success of his well-established column, Reveille, most likely to rub off on a new, struggling column such as WTW.

Sigh!  Or should I say sigh-yang, I mean, sayang..

GMA's cabinet reshuffle that featured a good number (a great number, by accounts from her critics) of PMAers, prompting more than a knee-jerk of a left-handed compliment to PMAAAI, and of course, PMA – courtesy (or discourtesy) of Cito Beltran. 

His column, CTALK read, in part:  "Malacañang Palace is now called the strongest chapter of the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association. Why not? Considering that Malacañang Palace has been overrun by retired military and police officials who are all graduates of PMA. It only goes to show how good the academy's leadership and tactical training is."
WTW salutes Cavalier Dan Jimenez '77 for his even-handed rejoinder – as you can see, not with the normal defend-at-any-cost, circle-the-wagon mentality of professional apologists – and therefore, worth quoting in its entirety:

"PMAyers populating both the AFP and the civilian government should not be the question nor the concern. What should matter is whether the AFP and governance have improved and responded well to the citizens.

"Numbers become a flaw only in failure.

"Success makes numbers irrelevant."

Have the AFP and governance improved and responded well to the citizens?
This is the more relevant question.  What, then,  is our answer?

"We should keep politics out of the judiciary." SC Chief Justice Reynato Puno.

He did not say, " We should keep the judiciary out of politics."

First, a move to oust Chief Justice Puno.Then, a counter-move in the form of a call for moral renewal by Puno himself. And now a Puno for President movement.

Grandmaster Eugene Torre could  not have essayed more brilliant moves and countermoves.

As a result, the battle on the board has been joined and we are told that the Queen who wants to continue as King indefinitely is in peril and Puno could be King.

This is how things now stand on the board, if we are to believe the PPP. I do not mean the Progressive Party of the Philippines of Manuel Manahan and Soc Rodrigo. I mean PPP, for political pundits and prognosticators, the Philippines' politicized press. 

Reynato Puno, not Ronaldo Puno, maybe for once in a long time,  is capturing the nation's  imagination and attention.  Newspapers have pushed other actors off center stage. The De la Pazes, the Pangandamans, the Alabang Boys, the  PDEA's Santiago and Marcelino.

With the attention and adulation of the Philippines heaped on him before, during and after his inauguration, Barack Obama himself had to share center stage with the media-hot Puno.
Thanks to her new role as drug czarina and a cabinet reshuffle, GMA managed a presence  but barely;  and as this is written, she has chosen to be the environment czarina as well which should help her keep her precarious toehold of center stage while Puno hogs it.  

With each Puno headline, with each signature on the petition for Puno to run, the plot thickens, as they say in mystery books.

But there's no mystery at all about the  Puno Possibilities. Plainly, they are possibilities aplenty.

Punong-puno ng possibilities.

Unless, of course, you have any reason to ask former Presidential Adviser Sergio Apostol who, unimpressed by Puno's "politics,"  has all but dismissed any and all of the Puno possibilities. 

I mean no offense to the Renatos of the world, to include my idol, the ex-future presidentiable Renato de Villa (I had a pleasant surprise running into him at the NAIA last week and engaging him in a short, hurried conversation) and my classmate  Major General Renato Garcia, executive Director for operations of HERO (Help Educate and Rear Orphans of soldiers Killed In Action). 

Reynato remains my personal preference over Renato.

Yes, that 'y'  entails an extra stroke on my keypad. But Reynato looks and sounds and feels irresistibly more presidentiable than Renato.

More regal. After all, Rey – not Re or Ren – means king, doesn't it? 

Puno ng Korte Suprema ngayon. Puno ng Bayang Pilipinas, bukas.

And why not?

Ping Lacson has dialed in, doing his own "Hello Puno," and the first – and the only one so far among the presidentiables – to do so. 

To the delight or consternation or surprise of of his following and fellow oppositionists, Ping has indicated his willingness to sacrifice his presidential ambition for a Puno candidacy.

Puno-Lacson ticket in 2010. Another Puno possibility.

And for crying out loud, why not an LP ticket? I mean, Lacson-Puno. The LP, the grand, old Liberal Party, might even warm up to the idea, Mar K. Roxas permitting.   

Fortunato Abat, not given to letting an opportunity pass him by, seized the moment and was reported to be brushing off the dust from his master plan for a caretaker government – with  Puno as CEO and Chair of the Board of Directors – to run the country.

The Palace by the Pasig has had as occupants a housewife, a soldier, a movie actor and an economist. No lawyer since the last one was booted out 27 years ago. Maybe it is time  for a lawyer again. In Puno's case, not just any lawyer but a Chief Magistrate. 

The two-kilometer distance has never been closer, it seems,  between the Supreme Court on Padre Faura and Malacanang on Jose P. Laurel.
The Chief Justice continues to make the right moves that could propel him from the bench to the presidential chair.
When asked if he will run, he said he will consult his grandchildren, ages seven, five and four.

You can never go wrong with children; everybody loves them. Who can fault Lolo Reynato if he runs because his  apos said so?

To blog or not to blog, that was the issue (see WTW 09-01-21).  The results are in.

The vote was  unanimous, in favor of blogging. 

One vote,  from the US – ECC/East Coast Chapter (Lorenzana '73); one, from the Philippines – NSA (Fajardo '86).
Of this, Vrad wrote, "The morphing is achieved, from bug-er to  blogger".
Cavalier Harold Ochoco '81 does not think it was a good idea "putting the words "friend", "she", "likes", etc. in the same sentence (as it) may raise some eyebrows and cause a lot of speculations, innuendos, and rumors.." He is also afraid my use of techie could link this column to another techie other than himself. A techie long before him. Techie Agbayani.
"I did not know that you are now a humor-mongerer."

Thank you, Cavalier Manuel  "Nonong" Carranza '69 for the honor. 

I did not know that this  "bit of humor" could grace this column, coming from a PMAer whose resume includes the venerable position of PMA Superintendent and at a time when he is seriously in "the midst of a deadlock in our CBA nego with a union panel."

For this week, the WTW sworde (star for wordsmithing excellence)  comes from – surprise! – Cavalier Vladimir Punto '74. And the word is: re-clamor-er – noun; root word, reclamo;  one who clamors for something again and again.

Vlad is the quintessential re-clamor-era, in his own words, "the irresistable re-clamor-er who got you out of your literary hibernation, but in my mind, I was doing the others and myself a favor, by asking you to "regale" us with your witticisms, humorism, cornisms and all other isms."

From one who emailed and asked to be identified as "silent reader (and) no need to be mentioned," she claims she read WTW "while watching the inaugural of the 44th US President yesterday and working, listening to a conference call at the same time."

An undivided attention to this column would have been preferable. But hey!  Who can complain about sharing time with an Obama?

Obamannia today. WTWannia tomorrow? Just thinking witfully, I mean, wishfully.
As this is written, two Gabriela Party List represenntatives have filed Bill 2603 which prohibits all retired and active military personnel, including officers, from being appointed in a concurrent or any other capacity to the positions of secretary, undersecretary, head or member of governing bodies of government-owned or -controlled corporations and agencies and other equivalent positions.

A memo to the bill's co-authors:

Yes, Lisa Maza, nakakalisa ito.

Yes, Luzviminda Ilagan, dapat lamang na ilagan ito sa Luzon, Visayas at Mindanao.
Since when has it become necessary and incumbent on lawmakers to enact laws that will  close the doors of public service to persons by reason other than their qualification and willingness to serve?  
I have a better idea. A bill banning permamnently any member of Congress who files bills that are not only ludicrous but unconstitutional.

This, in our view, is the least sanction, punishment if you will, that needs to be imposed on lawmakers who, by deliberation or on account of ignorance, turn to be lawbreakers, and expect their colleagues, by their acquiescence, to be lawbreakers themselves.

wtw 09-04
manila, philippines