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Winston "Arf-Arf" Arpon
PMA '64


Conversion and Identity Theft:
WTW Pleads Guilty As Charged


Today marks six months almost to the day of our first WTW issue, January 7, 2009. This is issue #27, see footer below.

On this milestone, we would like to quote what we wrote in issue #2 (see 09-01-14 WTW/”Vrad, You Are Alone, No Longer”):

One of the joys of something like WTW is the sheer satisfaction of writing as well as the knowledge and affirmation that somehow, somewhere, sometime – sooner than later – someone read what you wrote.
Never mind how many and never mind if they chose to do so deliberately or merely chanced upon it. And if they happen to like what you wrote, well, that's just icing on the cake.


A coalition of reform-minded organizations and individuals has launched “People’s Primaries,” a system wherein 10 million voters would come up with a slate of nontraditional candidates for public office in the 2010 elections.


We think this is an excellent idea. If you disagree, we hope it is not simply because primaries are common and its origins can be traced to the US.


Williams, Williams, Wimbledon. The alliteration, to our mind, was perfect, regardless of which of the Williams sisters won the women’s final.

Then the men’s final spoiled it all. A Federer, not a Wederer, emerged as the winner, 16-14, in the fifth and final set.

Then again, his opponent who could have won the five-set thriller was Roddick, not Wroddick.


A monkey urinated on Zambian President Rupiah Banda as he spoke to journalists at a news conference. This was the gist of a report shared with us by Cavalier Victor “Vic E” Erfe ‘69, constant WTW reader and  invaluable C5  [1 ], citing a Reuters report from Lusaka.

“Around here these days,” Vic E comments, referring to Inang Bayan Pilipinas, of course, “monkeys don’t play in trees; they are the ones making the speeches/press cons.”

But what got his attention, which may prove his point, was the fact that the Philippines Daily Inquirer that printed the report had this tagged, thus:  Filed Under: Animals, Politics.


According to a June 2 CNN poll there are now three favorites in the Republican Party for the US presidency – Alaska’s Sarah Palin; Massachusetts’ Mitt Romney; and Arkansas’ Mike Hucklebee.

What? Three candidates already in one party, more than 3 years before the next election? Once again, the US must be learning from Philippine politics, although its media, unlike their Philippine counterpart, has yet to call them ‘presidentiables.’


In her Philippine-US Friendship Day message, GMA said that “one of the values that we share with our American friends is a fierce commitment to electoral democracy and the institution of suffrage."
Please note, she said suffrage, not sufferage.


We can only hope that this assurance will assuage the apprehension and belie the suggestions in some quarters about  “something happening” sometime in the last quarter, or even as early as September, so that Filipinos will be singing not Noel but No-el come Christmastime. No-el, as in No-Election.


Occupying a full-page of the Philippines Daily Inquirer (Monday, July 6), it bore the title, Annual Report, July 2008-June 2009, a “paid advertisement by Friends of Sen. Trillanes.”

Sen. Trillanes is also Cavalier Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV ‘2005 [2] and is a first term Senator who “continues to serve the Filipino people from his jail cell." The ‘annual report’ said, among others, that Trillanes filed 285 bills (ranked sixth in the Senate) and 21 resolutions "despite the limitations of being incarcerated."

If this accomplishment is noteworthy, as the ad suggests, maybe there should be more members of Congress incarcerated?


And how about GMA’S State Of the Nation Address, SONA, from a jail cell as well?

Incidentally, “Sona” is the 44th episode of the American television series. The title of the series? Prison Break.


She is Mae Paner but is better known by the name of Juana Change. Juana Change, as in Wanna Change.

We saw her on TV on Independence Day. She was funny, a riot in her act and delivering from a robust frame of mind and body, she packed, it seemed to us, a mean punch in her message of change, a trademark of her exhortation to her audiences, we learned later.

Once again, with all due respect to POTUS Obama, hers is Change We Can Believe In.


Asia will be first to rise out of global recession, in the opinion of chief economist Lee Jong of the Asian Development Bank.

The ADB headquarters is in the Philippines. The Philippines is in Asia. Other than this, please tell us, Madame President, that the Philippines is included in Jong’s prediction.


Headline:   'Dream' polls promised.

Smartmatic, the company that won the contract for the automation of the 2010 election, has promised this scenario: 100% accuracy; 90% of the election results known within the first six hours after voting closed; complete results in two or three days so that national candidates can be proclaimed.

Is it too much to expect that Smartmatic is smart enough to wake up only when the dream becomes reality?


As usual he made his posting to his PMA mail group of preference, the PlebesandCavaliers, or PnC. And when he did so as soon as it finally happened on June 30 – a triumphant “Countdown = zero!” -  it was very obvious to us that retirement couldn’t have come a moment too soon to Cavalier Agapito “Pitong/P2/Peythong” Heredia ’70.

Heredia, a favorite of this column [3], is also a favorite to his fellow Cavaliers on the Internet and those around and about his Rancho Cucamonga in the Los Angeles, California area. Or, anyone within a Kabayo’s kicking distance [4], to paraphrase Cavalier Gregorio “Smokey” Carino ’69, Heredia’s yearling [5].

With this retirement from the corporate world, his second after retiring from the military twenty years ago, we think Peythong still has a full life ahead of him, as it should be for all retirees like him. In Heredia’s case, a life with, among others, his BUDdies – and by his own reckoning, a life with not a few BUDweisers. Indeed, a BUDding life, no less.

We wish him well and we drink to this.


I told my fiancé the day I found a number of them on my forehead. Those are not wrinkles, she assured me; they’re only expression lines.

How can one keep from admiring and loving someone that thoughtful?


This is the bottom line: WTW pleads guilty on both counts as charged – conversion and identity theft.


No, not the anomaly, the corrupt practices and the crime of conversion that have given a bad name to the procurement of military equipment. But as Cavaliers Victor “Vic” Erfe ’69 and Irwin Ver ’70 pointed out within hours of posting last week’s WTW, we got it wrong, our conversion of $20M, the amount that Shane Mosley said Manny Pacquiao would lose by not fighting him. 

Call it math-ity or muttity [6], but our math was wrong. $20M US is not 100 million Philippine pesos; it’s a cool 1 billion.


“I am certain several readers will raise the inaccuracy of your Phil peso equivalent of Mosley's $20m offer, but I would like to think that such an almost P1billion conversion error was attributed neither to the usual deadline haste, nor to the pervading disillusion of Sanford among the Republican-hearted, but rather to the obsolescence of the slide-rule by the calculator and your PC, causing your vulnerability to the writer's common condition, typo. But, a missing zero shouldn't matter much amongst fellow cavaliers!”

Thank you, Irwin Ver, for this defense; although, with one caveat – understanding your Democratic proclivities, we would have to say, you could have omitted your seamlessly crafted aside on ‘the Republican-hearted.’


Interestingly, under the Treaty of Paris, the US paid Spain $20M for the Philippines. Then, Manny Pacquiao could have bought this country.

Some people are just born lucky, as C5 Vic Erfe suggests; we were just born handsome.


Two members of PMA Class ’81, Cavaliers Harold Ochoco and Gaby Riego deDios sent us this correction: Cavalier Emmanuel Bautista '81 is NOT "Butch/Baltic". He is BGen Manny Bautista. Cavalier "Butch/Baltic" is another mistah [7], Fernando Baltazar '81 who is based in California.

Our apology to the four classmates, for the mistaken identity or identity theft – we plead guilty to either or both – especially to Cavaliers Fernando “Butch/Baltic” Baltazar and Emmanuel Bautista.


No, sirs, this was not deliberate on our part, to test if Class 81 were as alert as we believe they are or should be; or, to see if they and others are reading WTW.

But if this were a test, they passed with flying colors.


“No apologies necessary…..Incognito is my middle name, (and)….A correction is not necessary from this end, but probably for the sake of my Compadre General Manny.”

Thank you, Fernando Baltazar, Esq. [8] for your ‘leniency.’


From somewhere in Houston, Texas, an unexpected but welcome voice: 

“I sure enjoy reading this Witful Thinking of yours. They're really full of wits and some funny twists…..”

The voice is from Cavalier Alexander “Alex” Quirante ’72; a voice from our past [9].

Your suggestion for wider distribution is ‘duly noted,’ as a favorite boss of ours would invariably scribble in our memos, in a previous life a long, long time ago.

There was a similar suggestion earlier, but we said then as we say now, we are afraid the editorial policies of The Cavalier won’t allow the inclusion of an opinion column such as this one in that institutional magazine. Not to mention, WTW’s irreverence and anti-establishment views every now and then.


In our last issue, we reported on the last taps for Cavalier Ramon “Ka Monching” Alcaraz ’40 who passed away on June 25. We missed to mention that last taps was played a day earlier for Cavalier William P. Manlongat  ’59 PMA/’60 USMA. We regret the omission.


@arf-arf ‘64
wtw 09-27 
makati, philippines


[1] The 5 Cs in ‘C5’ correspond to Cavalier contributor, correspondent, confidant/conniver and critic of WTW
[2] His fellow Cavaliers in the Philippine Senate, Rodolfo “Pong” Biazon ’61, and Panfilo “Ping” Lacson ’71 are called in PMA mail groups, GenSen, for General-Senator. Trillanes, a Lieutenant in the Navy we can call LtSen, perhaps? And another Cavalier in the Senate, Gregorio “Gringo Honasan ’71, a colonel – ColSen then?
[3] Heredia has been mentioned on several occasions in this column; he was the featured  center-“piece” subject of 09-03-11 WTW/”Pitong (Not Peyton) Place”
[4] We do not know why but in PMA alumni circles, the name Heredia  (seven Heredias graduated from PMA) is associated with a horse; kabayo, in Filipino. The first association occurred  with and the name, Kabayo, given to his father, Cavalier Agapito Heredia Sr. ’43.
[5] Yearling is equivalent to sophomore in civilian colleges. Carino was a yearling when Heredia was a plebe (freshman). 
[6] In PMA cadet parlance, ‘muttity,’ traceable to Mutt of the Mutt and Jeff comic cartoon, construes stupidity.
[7] Mistah is a form of address among PMA classmates
[8] Baltazar is a lawyer practicing in California, and we have been told that ‘Fernando Baltazar’ translates in Spanish to ‘Daring Counsel’
[9] Quirante was one of the early members of the two PMA mailgroups on the Internet, Academy Cavaliers Forum (ACF), and Plebes and Cavaliers (PnC), during their infancy in 1993.