Select Page


Winston "Arf-Arf" Arpon
PMA '64

Failure of Elections: Did It Happen? 


Senator Benigno Aquino III and Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay will be proclaimed by Congress today. That we had anything to do with the timing of the proclamation on Witful Thinking, Wednesday will remain just that – speculation. 


Aquino and Binay – the A & B of Philippine officialdom from now on – will be the next President and Vice-President of the Philippines, respectively, for the next six years. Unless EDSA or EDSA-like events intervene to shorten or extend their term.  


The secret of their victory? 

It's not the economy, stupid. No one talked about it in the campaign except GMA and her drumbeaters. And GMA was not running for President but for a congressional seat in Pampanga. 


It's in the nickname, genius.

Noynoy, Jojo, Bong-Bong – winners all in the last elections. 

It’s too late now, but a Marmar Roxas would have won.  


Closer to home, I am glad the nicknames of three of my four grandsons are: Nicnic, Nacnac and Renren. And one of my three granddaughters I call, Lala. 


Jocjoc Bolante lost. But that's another story altogether. In the end, a nickname couldn't overcome a scandal like the 720-million fertilizer scam that gave Jocjoc a bad name. 


With this proclamation, it's all over but the shouting. 

Shouting from the candidates who were "cheated."


So, what was that message of "Congratulations" he saw on the PCOS machine after his ballot was scanned? 

Ask Erap Estrada, not us. 


In our WTW issue last week [1] we wrote that this was “one midnight appointment we hope to keep” and we think we delivered on our promise. But don’t take our word for it, take that of Cavalier Victor “VicE” Erfe ’69. He got his copy of WTW two hours before midnight, Philippine local time. [2].


This will hardly endear us Cavalier Arturo  “Art/I-Told-You-So” Vidad ’81, an ultra-nationalist, in our view, and to whom the Philippines is Numero Uno and the US, second in many things and in many ways. 

But we think the Philippines can take a cue from Uncle Sam on this – an official residence for the Vice-President. We’re thinking of something similar to that of the US Veep – the one on Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, the US Naval Observatory. 

An observatory where Vice-President Jojemar Cauatan Binay, we mean, Jojemar Cabauatan Binay can be closely watched, now that he has center stage all to himself as the unabashed, un-reluctant and self-proclaimed heir apparent to someone he has called his “friend,” Noynoy Aquino. 


In an interview, GMA was quoted as saying, she has no regrets as her term ends. 

We weren’t interviewed, but we don’t have any regrets either. Except perhaps, that it did not come sooner?


By our reckoning, GMA has but 21 midnights left, but we do not think leaks, revelations or discovery of her midnight appointments – retroactive of course to March 9 – are about to end anytime before June 30. 

As of last report, the count stood at 169, although according to our sources, the more accurate figure is 250.

Whatever count you opt to go by, count one midnight appointee out: Anita Carpon (no relation to us, even if you dropped the “C”). By opting out of her nomination for Board member of the Pag-Ibig Fund, President Arroyo’s manicurist has become the object no longer of derision and ridicule but of respect and admiration – and deservedly so.


1-Utak, the United TrAnsport Koalisyon, was one of the party-lists that garnered enough votes in the last election and is entitled therefore to one representative in the Philippine House of Representatives. [3] The Commission on Elections, however, has received a couple of petitions to disqualify 1-Utak’s first nominee, Cavalier Angelo “Angie” Reyes ’66. 

If there is anyone with the credentials to represent the marginalized transportation sector, it’s Reyes. We don’t profess to know what transport – tricycle, pedicab, mini-van, limo, yacht or what-not – he took in each of his travels, but they are a matter of record. You can’t ask for an odyssey such as his. Just off the top of our head: From his childhood in San Juan, to Fort del Pilar, to the Philippine Army, Asian Institute of Management, Office of the Chief of Staff, Department of National Defense, Department of Interior and Local Government and Department of Energy and Natural Resources.  


His declaration, "I Won't Quit!" gets our nod of approval for presidential firmness and determination, attributes of leadership. 

If only Noynoy Aquino weren't just talking of smoking…..


If he desires to be off and running, as we think he should, in order to energize his official family and the Filipino people as well, he needs to start – pardon the expression – kicking some butt very soon. 

We think he should start with his own. And kick his smoking habit.


Light a fire, not your cigarette, Mr. President.  


Civil Service Commissioner Francisco Duque III has issued a memorandum encouraging all government agencies to "observe a 100% smoke-free workplace" at all times, not just on May 31, the “No Tobacco” Day.

Mr. Commissioner, tell that to the incoming boss of the Malacanang Office.  


The email we read the other day was cryptic but said it all with finality – the elections were cancelled – raising anew the fear of Failure of Elections that had been a constant in our mind since this scenario was widely-believed, attributed to a sinister plan to perpetuate Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as Philippine President.[4]

Thank God, this happened on June 5th, not May 10th; in the US of A, not the Philippines.

Yes, this was also for the election of a new President. President of the East Coast Chapter USA.[5] The reason given by the Secretary, Cavalier Harold Ochoco ’81, for the failure of elections was far from dramatic – no hanging shad of Florida fame nor defective PCOS machines from Smartmatic; no vote-buying nor “dagdag-bawas” [6] The reason was quite pure and simple – low turnout of voters at the residence of the Jimenezes in Clarksburg, Maryland where the get-together and election were to take place. 

Disappointing? But of course, but no cause for alarm. This failure of elections, not the COMELEC variety, we honestly think, we can live by.


This week [7] an article of Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala generated the circulation of email threads among two major mail groups on the Internet whose members are former PMA cadets – PnC, PlebesaNdCavaliers; ACF, Academy Cavaliers Forum and we think, for good reason. Don Jaime wrote about a subject that is dear to the military.    

“How about the soldiers who have died and have left their families,” Don Jaime asked and articulated for most of us, “suffering far from the
eye of the public, with limited prospects for education or livelihood?

“These are the men and women to whom we at the Help Educate and Rear Orphans (HERO) Foundation would like to pay tribute. Upon the request of the late President Cory Aquino and with the support of civilian volunteers, General Renato de Villa and I, together with a group of like-minded businessmen, founded HERO Foundation in 1988 to provide educational assistance to the children of soldiers killed-in-action. The foundation offers college scholarships, and gives stipends to grade school, high school, and college students.” [8]


Roda Chinalpan who recently passed the CPA Board examinations is no different from the other successful examinees, except for one thing – she is one of the scholars of LEAP, the Loakan Educational Assistance Project of DJLF Foundation, USA and the RCMB, Rotary Club of Metro Baguio.   

Launched in 2005 on the campus of the Loakan Annex of the Baguio City National High School situated at PMA, Fort del Pilar Baguio City, LEAP supports five scholars every year – four from BCNHS and one chosen nationwide; to date, it has in its roster successful college graduates from universities in Baguio City – all 10 scholars of the Batch of 2005 and, four from the Batch of 2006. [9]


It has been an inspiration for us to be a part of this project of former cadets of PMA who have migrated and taken residence overseas and constitute the general membership of the Foundation committed to youth education and development in their country of birth. [10]


I left home without it. Not just my American Express but all my credit cards and whatever little cash I had in my wallet.

"Now, you are at my mercy," my wife warned me upon learning my embarrassing predicament and it was clear to me that the 1 ½ hours of driving back to Makati to pick up my wallet was out of the question, despite my pleadings. For the record, the van is in her name and the driver takes orders from her (but what else is new?).

One week away from home without a wallet! 

But it could have been worse. Instead of Lipa and Tagaytay, Philippines, we could have been in Arizona, USA where I would be at risk daily of a cop stopping me for reasonable doubt of my status and  being put behind bars for not carrying my immigration documents. 


“Abstinence,” Joseph “Joe” Dasbach calls the 19 weeks that WTW was AWOL; too long and too big a pause, even for us. Yet, the erudite Dasbach who certainly knows that mano is diminutive still called those 19 weeks a mere manopause. 


Amelita  “Amy” Ylagan – yes, sir, she’s one and the same person who writes a column on commerce and business for the newspaper Business World; a columnist-for-real to our columnist-wannabe. She wrote to ask if our email to her was “missent.”

No, Ma'am, it wasn’t. 

We think – okay, we assume – that your late husband, Cavalier Dominador “DY” Ylagan ‘63, would have wanted us to have his widow in our list of WTW recipients.  

Moreover, unlike Speaker Nograles and his fellow representatives of the 15th Congress, we believe in Freedom of Information. You have a right to know not only what we are doing or what we’re thinking here. 

But like other readers, you have our assurance, Ma’am, that you’re on our list strictly on an FFID-basis. FFID, as in Feel Free to Ignore and Delete. 


Rolaids had its idea of spelling “relief” – remember the commercial? 

WTW reader and a classmate of ours, Cavalier Jorge Agcaoili ’64 has his own: reading last issue of WTW and relief from his “fear that I’ve been taken off the recipient’s list.”

No, sir, we don’t take off recipients from our list; they take us off theirs.


Cavalier Renato "Rene" Garcia '64, another WTW reader and classmate, urged us to "write something about the Ombudsman," and corrected himself in time, saying Ombudswoman. 

We would like to oblige but given the continuing criticisms of Ombudswoman Ma. Merceditas Navarro-Gutierrez  and clamor for her to tender her resignation, we think it makes more sense to write her off than  write about her. 


It would be interesting, we thought, to ask selected readers to speculate on why I was working on WTW in the dark. 

We received a good number of them and one which caught our fancy was submitted by Cavalier Jaime "Jinggoy" Garingo '77. His reason: Because our honeymoon was over.  

This one, we think, belongs to the Top Ten Reasons, if not the Top Reason, among the few that we received [11] but for one thing: our honeymoon is not over, if only because my wife has this unshakable belief in what a wise man once said – if you want your marriage to last, your honeymoon shouldn't ever end.


OutWTWed is when we come upon or when someone shares with us something that instantly engages our interest – a phrase, a title, an article – something original and witty, it gives us a sense of regret that we did not think of it ourselves. 

This week, thanks to Cavalier Billy “Bill” Enerio ’63, we aren’t without our OutWTWed segment. We wonder where in cyberspace he got this, but this is what he shared with us: The Secret of Getting Old – Get Going.

Bj, please note that it doesn’t say that the secret of getting old is to get it going.


We continue what we started last week, using “How Many Days Oh Noble Cataline?” a plebe knowledge [12] for our countdown to the next Philippine elections on May 9, 2013  [13] 

Sir, there are 1,065 days, 25,560 hours, 1,533,600 minutes, 92,016,000 seconds and 184,032,000 ticks before that election. 


Fast forward to the next presidential election in 2016. 

Jejomar Binay has announced that he is a candidate for the presidency under the Puersa ng Masang Pilipino party. PMP head Joseph “Erap” Estrada passes away 10 months before the election and there is an outpouring of grief for the fallen former President. 

One month later, Jojimar Binay announces that he is stepping aside in his bid for the presidency in favor of Estrada’s son, Senator Jinggoy Estrada. Binay will be Jinggoy’s running mate. 

Jinggoy wins; Binay loses.

The Philippines chalks up an improbable trifecta of parent-son Presidents, the only one in world history; more implausible than 555 Lebron James triple-doubles: Diosdado Macapagal-Gloria Macapagal Arroyo; Corazon Aquino-Noynoy Aquino; Joseph Estrada-Jinggoy Estrada. Father-daughter; Mother-son; Father-son combinations.

Is this history repeating itself or the mother of our wishful thinking?


@arf-arf ‘64
wtw 2010-04
tagaytay city, philippines



[1] 2010-06-02 WTW/”Watchful Thinking: Where There’s Smoke  

[2] His email to us en  toto: This not a midnight appointment after all. It came in before 10pm last night. I went over it twice and slept on it (a practice from way back).

This test run went well. I find nothing to merit any reconfiguration of CF cards. The few glitches I found could be corrected with a simple Memorandum as follows:

On Tiger: I think the right term is "taken UP acting".

On Shalani: She got the highest number of votes in the Second District of Valenzuela. Of course her 79,558 is higher than the highest 57,259 of the First District; I guess that makes her No. 1.

[3] The 1987 Philippine Constitution provides that “the party-list representatives shall constitute twenty percentum of the total number of representatives….from labor, peasant, urban poor, indigenous cultural communities, women, youth” and others with the exception of the religious sector.

[4] And who can blame us? Up to the days preceding the May 10 election this item was prominent in the website of Aquino and Roxas supporters: Elections ‘Liberal standard bearers Senators Benigno S. Aquino III and Mar Roxas today expressed fears that the May 10 national and local elections will end up in total failure because of the removal of safeguards in ballots and faulty implementation of several features of the automated election system (AES).

In a letter to Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Jose A.R. Melo, Aquino and Roxas both expressed concerns that the poll body is running out of time to fully ensure success of the automated elections and may need to resort to manual counting to ensure the elections in May 10 will succeed.

[5] Known as ECC, it  is one of several fraternal chapters in the US of the PMA Alumni Association, along with NEG, the NorthEast Group; NORCAL, Northern California and SOCAL, Southern California.  

[6] A well-known form of cheating in the counting of votes; literally, adding and subtracting of votes for and against a candidate, respectively.

[7] We have made a decision that starting with this issue, we will endeavor to highlight certain advocacies, especially on youth education and development

[8] For those willing to help the Foundation, Don Jaime had this suggested this point of contact: Gen. Renato M. Garcia, Executive Director, HERO Foundation, Inc. Room 203, 2nd Floor, AFPGIC Bldg., EDSA cor. B. Serrano St., Q.C.; tel no. 912-0361; or email:

[9] One of them, Benedict Milo finished only one year of Engineering, passed the PMA examinations on his sophomore year and graduated with the PMA Class of 2010. The others: Muller Bato, Bachelor of Education major in Elementary Education, (UC); Sheryl Belwa, Bachelor of Science in Financial Management and Accounting, (UC); Cristina Burlaza,  Hotel and Restaurant Management (UC); Katrina Mae Gumatay, BS Nursing (UC); Ma. Luisa Sinaking, BS Financial Management and Accounting (UC); Alona Adawi LS, BS Accountancy, (SLU); Roda Chinalpan, BS Accountancy (SLU:; Delphia Lyn Cayabas,  BS Nursing, (UB); Cherry Mae Dacyon, BS Nursing, (UB); Odessa Belwa, BS Financial Management and Accounting, (UC); Irene Marcos, BS Education major in Math (SLU).

[10] Members comprise the bulk of donors, but over the years of its existence (dating back to 1999, six years before the  launching of LEAP),  the Foundation counts others, several of them readers and recipients of this column. For donations, check may be issued to DJLF Foundation, Ltd. and sent to its address:  DJLF Foundation, 12926 Lyme Bay Dr., Herndon, VA 20171, USA.

[11] The other reasons – courtesy of Cavaliers Leopoldo “Pol” Aliac ‘67; Alfonso “PonsWA” Alvarez ’83 –  in no particular order of wit, corn and humor:  Work and the worker sharing the same  shade; imagination and fingers working better in the dark; just a matter of habit, working after taps; darkness conducive to stealth mode; no “plebes” to turn on the lights; Vicky says good night and is off to her beauty sleep.

[12] A ‘plebe knowledge’ is a collective body of composition, poems, rhymes, verses, definitions, etc. that plebes in military academies, like the Philippine Military Academy, are required to know and recite verbatim, a requirement that is aimed at sharpening their memory skills while adding to their knowledge (a good number of plebe knowledge, like “What is a Kiss?” or “How is the Cow?” are funny and frivolous, but some, like The Origin of Coal, contain factual information that are good to know and remember).

In this plebe knowledge, How Many Days, Oh Noble Cataline, we are doing what the plebes would have done in a countdown to the next Philippine election  in 2013 – compute the days and convert them to hours, minutes, seconds and ticks, a laborious computation by long hand, before the slide rule, calculators, computers and spreadsheets.

[13] Our justification, as we explained last week:   The candidates that won in the last Philippine elections will be up for reelection in three years, with the exception of the elected President, Vice-President and the 12 Senators. That’s just a little over 1,000 days from today.

With the usual high stakes in that election and every election thereafter, particularly in view of the objective of a more reliable and error-free Automated Election System as well as other government and non-government electoral reform activities, we thought that this early, we will begin, with this issue, a countdown to that election, borrowing, of course, from that US congressman who came up with the notion, to which we are in agreement, that whatever it is that we want to accomplish for the next election, the time to start is now.