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Winston "Arf-Arf" Arpon
PMA '64


To Barrack Obama and Ramon
Farolan: A Memo

Item: COMELEC to get 109 million pesos for poll automation.

Chairman Jose Melo told reporters the proposed budget for poll automation was not included in the 2009 budget because it took the poll body's advisory council a long time to decide on which technology to use for the 2010 elections.


There is no truth to the rumors that the council sought advice from Virgilio Garcillano, the other voice in the "Hello Garci" tapes.


There isn't truth to the rumors either that the technology includes automating the process of "dagdag-bawas," a process that is better left to manual manipulation, I mean, manual operations.


These bode well for Elections 2010.

If there is an election.


Cav Harold Ochoco, PMA '81, wrote that this weekly e-column "can best be communicated via blogging," citing these "advantages:"

1. Consistent look and feel.
2. Old issues can be archived and can be easily managed.
3. All comments are in one place instead of getting them from multiple threads in different e-mail groups.
4. You look good in the picture.

To prove his points, he blogged the first two issues of WTW, see


He will do the same with this issue, the third on that blog – and counting.
Harold is a snappy PMAyer who – how did we say it in Loakan-speak? – who can "take hints."


I agree with his reasons, including #4. Harold, a techie of techies, I regard as a creative genius. He can make anything look good, to please the eye and tickle one's ego. Even my picture in the blog.

Hindi nakakablug, I mean, hindi nakakabulag.


I showed this picture to a friend and she said she likes it.

A high techie herself, she could not help but ask: Are you sure Harold did not "photo-shop" it?


Barack Obama, Person of the Year for 2008 of Time magazine – maybe PotY of everyone – has not ceased to amaze his country and the rest of the world since he ran for the US presidency and was elected the first black person to occupy what is arguably the most powerful position in the world.

Several hours ago, he was sworn in as President. He is the 44th.

Please take note, he was not sworn in as the 1st black US President. He was sworn in as President, period. Not white, not black President.


I suspect not a few sleepy-eyed folks in the Philippines and others on this side of the world watching at or around midnight this historic event at noontime in the US.


A week before, he did another amazing thing. A sweet thing. A cute thing. He wrote an Open Letter to his daughters, Malia, 7, and Sasha, 10.

If you haven't done so, you may want to read what he wrote which, to me, may help explain why his vision, especially for America, resonated exceedingly well with his fellow Americans during the presidential campaign; his current approval rating more than three times that of the president he replaced.


Amidst all the preparations, he took the time to talk to his daughters in that letter, to tell them "a little more about why I decided to take our family on this journey," "why I ran for President: …… what I want for you and for every child in this nation."

Who can't admire (and vote for) a guy who does this?


The previous day was Martin Luther King Day. On the eve of Barack Obama's presidency, the great civil rights leader must have been smiling in his grave.


Mr. President, you won the presidency on this message: Change We Can Believe In.

I think you know that was the easy part, Mr. President.

The hard part begins, Mr. President, with your inauguration .

From Day 1 of your presidency, this column, like most Americans and a good number of non-Americans, will watch you change from Change We Can Believe In, no pun intended, to:
Change We Can Do;. Change We Will Do.

And after four years, Change We Did.


If you fail, Mr. President, as I hope you won't, you will please forgive me when I put this sticker on the bumper of my car: Don't Blame Me. I Did Not Vote for Barack Obama.


If you succeed, Mr. President, as I pray you will, for the good of all, you have my word that the sticker I have on my car's bumper – Asian-Americans for McCain – I will replace with one that says, Barack Obama – Four More Years.


I resumed reading in the Philippines Daily Inquirer Cav Ramon J. Farolan's column, Reveille.

I was not disappointed with this one – his sagely take on the saga of Marine Major Ferdinand Marcelino, beautifully crafted and presented, evidently for added interest, in the context of another Marine, American Colonel Oliver North and his role in the celebrated, if now distant, Iran Contra affair.


I liked what I read but then realized that I can look forward to reading Reveille, on Mondays only.

What a downer, what a disappointment.


With all due respect, sir, knowing you as a prolific writer, I feel cheated.

It is bad enough that you only went a third of the way, dropping Tattoo and Taps in "Reveille, Tattoo, Taps," a column I happen to be familiar with. You have to let your fans, readers like me, wait a good seven days before they can read, enjoy and savor your column.


As you know, the cadets at PMA still have reveille every day, seven days a week. You may want to have Reveille every day, seven days a week as well.

After all, your column, sir, is in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Not the Philippine Weekly Inquirer.


From Cebu, comes Cavalier Virgilio Bas, PMA '60, with the proposition that there is a corn shortage in Cebu and citing this column as proof, he says the Warays are responsible for the shortage.


If you think he'd leave things like that, think again. He was not editor of The Corps and an intelligence officer for nothing.

Listen to this and laugh. Or as we used to say in Loakan barracks, tickle yourself, as you read this contribution of his to WTW's archive of Wit, Humor or Corn, WHoC:

Corn from the father – Popcorn. Corn from the mother – Mais.
And from New York? – Corny!

And he claims there's a corn shortage in Cebu?


He got this from his grandchild, he says.

Like Lolo, like Apo.


And from Cavalier Randolph Espejo, PMA '74: By golly, this is the only column that I am reading now. Plus the gossip column on page 2 in Parade magazine, of course.

Thank you, Pards, for associating WTW with gossip. And by golly, I can see a career writing for The National Inquirer or People's Magazine.


The father of the late Ambassador Ernesto S. LLamas (see WTW 09-01-14), Cav Fidel Llamas, O-1605, is PMA '38. "My recollection was correct," Cavalier Chuck Agustin wrote.

Aye, aye sir!


That was generous of OSG (not the Office of the Solicitor General or Sergeant of the Guard), Orville S. Gabuna, PMA '67, to share his feelings on reading last week's WTW.

Cavalier Gabuna, I reckon I must have said something about "glamorizing" your name – I said this to any plebe whose name sounded foreign, like Orville or Octavius or Oliver. I would like to say I am sorry. I regret that this apology comes a bit late – 42 years too late.


"I read,
I smiled,
I was saddened,"

Partly, that's how he put it, in simple verse. For as Cavalier Orville knows by now, WTW aims to give more reasons to laugh, lesser to cry.

As I write this, however, we hear that the last Taps has been sounded for another PMAyer, Cavalier Percival Adiong, PMA '62 .

WTW joins others in condolences to his surviving family, Gloria Carbajal-Adiong and their six children.

Cavalier Adiong was a cow to my plebe. In tribute to him, from this third issue of WTW, I borrow from OSG:

I have written,
I have smiled,
I am saddened.



tacloban city, philippines