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Winston "Arf-Arf" Arpon
PMA '64


Dynamics of Whistle Blowing?


There is truth to the rumors that my friend and I are engaged. Passionately.

She and I are both engaged, yes, in something that we have been involved deeply for years: philanthropy, youth education and development, in particular.

She, for 20 years and me, for 10. Mine less than hers, as usual, but what did you expect?


Headline, Washington Post:  @2009? Wishful Thinking, Perhaps, as Backlog Mounts.

We wish. But no, Vrad P, the Post was not referring to Wishful Thinking, Wednesday.

The item was on the serious logjam in the U.S. Copyright Office – a problem that has tripled the processing time for a copyright from six to 18 months.

And yes, Art V, the US has problems too, like this one.

But thank heaven! We are not contemplating on a WTW copyright.


The Preakness Stakes, the second of the coveted Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, was won not by a colt but a filly. This is the first in 85 years of the running of the Preakness that the big winner was a filly.  Yes, boys and girls, she, “Rachel Alexandra”, bested him, “Mine that Bird,” winner of the Kentucky Derby, the first of the Triple Crown, two weeks ago.

Of that win, we wrote (see WTW 09-05-06/”Two Specters”):

“Mine That Bird,” a 50-1 underdog in the 2009 Kentucky Derby, won.

“Ours That Man,” not a 50-1 underdog in the 2010 presidential derby, can win.
That Man: SPF, Senator Panfilo Lacson,  a.k.a. Cavalier Panfilo Lacson ’71. The Ping of WTW past  (see WTW 09-03-25/”Ping-Pong Democracy: Leakers, Lickers, Lookers”).

But Rachel Alexandra’s win in the Preakness has gotten us thinking. Maybe, unlike the Kentucky Derby, the 2010 RP presidential derby will be won not by a colt – sorry Ping and sorry, Puno, Panlilio, Pangilinan et al. It could be won by a filly, after all.

Loren Legarda? Grace Padaca?  Loi Estrada? Susan Roces? Vilma Santos? 

Jamby Madrigal, why not? She has been making a lot of noise in the Senate lately that we think she is posturing for the 2010 presidential derby.   


Item:  No increase in Social Security in the US this year.

This is a change from previous years of constant cost-of-living increase in SS benefits.

Memo to POTUS Obama:   Another change we seniors will find difficult to believe in.


Item:   Comelec Chair Jose Melo admits possible failure of election.

Melo cited neither Malacanang nor cha-cha proponents as the cause of this failure but the brouhaha on its automation.

In any case, this is one FOE, failure of election, the people must fight!


Another writer beat us to it, but we love how she described this melo-dramatic presentation: Uto-automation. As in, inu-uto tayo – pulling our leg and insulting our intelligence by bringing up the issue and the alibi of automation, perhaps to condition our minds, should there indeed be a FOE. Or for that matter, no election at all. 


From cases in recent memory, it seems to us that whistle blowers could be fast becoming endangered species. 

Major General Antonio Mario Taguba, the second Filipino-American to achieve a general rank in the US Army, blew the whistle, through the so-called Taguba Report, on numerous instances of abuse that occurred at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq.

In January 2006, Taguba was instructed by General Richard A. Cody, the Army's Vice-Chief of Staff, to retire by January 2007.


Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada blew the whistle on the corruption surrounding the $329-million deal for a national broadband network between China’s ZTE Corporation and the Philippine government.

He has been arrested and is facing 16 charges, including perjury, theft and dishonesty.


Now comes Nancy Gadian. She had a similar fate, after blowing the whistle on the misuse of funds by her superiors who helped themselves to those funds.

Gadian has now been charged with AWOL, “insubordination” and “technical malversation” of funds – charges that she claims are in retaliation for her expose on the misuse that occurred during the joint military exercises between RP and US armed forces in 2007, Balikatan.


If one is to believe Gadian, hers looks to be a case of balikatan to baliktaran (roughly translated, ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ to ‘boomerang;’ sorry boys and girls about the English language being imprecise when it comes to translating Pilipino).  In more graphic terms, a case of shooting the messenger to give another message that will discourage future messengers.

The inevitable dynamics of whistle blowing?


A balikat, a shoulder to cry on is what this hapless Navy lieutenant sorely needs at this time, with all the charges against her and possibly more, to include perjury (the Army maintains they have Commission on Audit documentation to back up its claim that all Balikatan funds are accounted for).


Thanks to Cavalier Michael “Chasan” Sanchez ‘81, a list of Navy whistles, and links to them, was recently posted to the PlebesandCavaliers mailgroup, PnC, to wit: All Hands; Belay; Alongside;  Heave Around; Mess Call; Pass the Word; Pipe the Side; Secure General Quarters; Sideboys 2, 4, 6, and 8; Sweepers.

It’s been ages since we were on board a Navy ship and last heard any of these whistles. Still, we think Lieutenant Senior Grade Nancy Gadian has a certain fondness for “Sweepers,” having decided do some cleaning up of her own; like a boatswain, to man her broom and sweep the decks, fore and aft.

If the suggestion of Gadian’s fellow Navy officer, Cavalier Carlos “Chuck” Agustin ’59 recently posted on PnC is to be followed, as it should, we can be assured that the powers-that-be in the Navy and the Army would do their own sweeping as well, but not to sweep and hide the dirt under the rug, we hope.


Already, the announcement of both the Philippine Army and the Philippine Navy, through their spokespersons, to revisit the Gadian allegations and get to the bottom of this is promising. As in, promise-ing.


There are reasons for delaying the posting of this column and there are better reasons, like this one: we cannot, in conscience, allow this issue of WTW to get to the blog and/or the archives without the name of the 2009 American Idol in it, for the record. Two hours yet to go, as we speak, and counting…

The AI finale, mano a mano; like last year’s exciting finale, no woman, just man to man. Conway’s (Arkansas) Kris Allen vs. San Diego’s (California) Adam Lambert.

And the choice of America, after the final tally of an unprecedented 100 million votes cast, the American Idol is…Kris Allen.  


A heartbreak for the favorite, a triumph for the underdog. And for us, some measure of vindication, as we did not waver in our belief that Allen, our diminutive Rocky, would spring  a surprise. What a surprise!  


It was heartbreak for us last year, with David Archuleta as our choice and the rest of America thinking otherwise, choosing the other David – David Cook – to be the Goliath, the 2008 American Idol. And our goose was cooked.

Being wrong two years in a row would have driven us to consider watching “Lost” instead.

But what will we be doing Tuesdays from here on, until January when American Idol returns? 


An interesting take from Cavalier Enrico “Eric” Pena ’86 on the item, eternal life, in our last issue (WTW 09-05-06/”In This Corner: Manny & Ricky & Vlady & Chucky & Glory”):

“The economic prosperity, opportunity or liberty a country provides for its citizens doesn't seem to be of significance in a persons (sic) preference to live forever.

“What is significant though is how religion seems to be a factor in a person's desire to live longer. Does this mean that those who put their faith in their religion tend to lead more meaningful and purposeful lives compared to those who live in a secular reality?

Or is it perhaps why people tend to believe in religion—because they want to believe they will live forever?”

If we continue to receive deep, insightful thoughts like this one, WTW may have to give way to STW. As in, Serious Thinking, Wednesday.


“Your classmate Terry,” Cavalier Virgilio “Bill” Bas ‘60 wrote, “was our baby during the war. There was no milk at that time so he survived on malunggay which our mother religiously took as soup so Terry could have the nutrients he needed as a baby.

“Now I am taking malunggay capsules, now sold in Cebu. For those suffering all the aches in their sunset years, malunggay will be good for them – to be able still to see many more sunrises in the mornings, maybe for many more years.”


Terry is Cavalier Asterio “Terry” Bas ’64, departed and gone for several years now. He was a very close classmate and friend. Before his brother Bill did, Terry demonstrated to us that if you were looking for corn or ‘cornity,’ chums or comrades, Cebu and Cebuanos, respectively, were your best bet. Terry, in retrospect, was one of our best finds in Cebu’s cornfields.


We don’t recall that Terry, before, during or after the EDSA revolution of 1986, had any particular liking for balimbing to go with his meals or his political  beliefs and we always wondered why, especially after that revolution. Now we know the reason – malunggay.


And then, a subtle reminder that try as we may, we cannot get away with WTW delays, even with our well-built alibis, and this, from reader and friend Thelma L. Vhattyam, writing either from her mansion in Michigan or Florida: “It must be nice to write/publish your column-WTW- as a hobby and not as a job to earn a living. For being tardy several times, you would have been fired…..”



Levy Hernandez, OAO of Cavalier Osmundo “Andy” Hernandez ’75, writing on her own behalf and that of her fellow NORCAListas wished me well in “my DMV career,” thank you.

And she had a couple of WTW pointers to boot. WTW, as in Waiting To Win/Waiting To Wed the V in DMV.

Thank you, desperate housewives, I mean disparate housewives for the tip. But we are not going that way. 


As you can see from the footer below, this is WTW Issue 21. So, with this issue, WTW comes of age.

Drinking age.

So, let’s drink to that.  


@arf-arf ’64
wtw 09-20   
deakins hall, maryland