Select Page

Winston "Arf-Arf" Arpon
PMA '64


 Ferrer than Fair


It’s Friday here in IBP [a], Thursday in the US of A. Nowhere else in WWW (read: Whole Wide World or World Wide Web), is it Wednesday.

But yes, Virginia, this is still WTW, Witful Thinking Wednesday.


I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
- Joyce Kilmer

And what a pity, we regret to say
One of those trees got in Tiger’s way.
-  WTW
   2009 –


When we first heard of the news of Tiger’s crash we thought we also heard the sound of Tiger’s cash, the loss of a lot of cash.

But sponsors – Nike, Gatorade, EA Sports, Buick AT & T, among others – that could have dropped Tiger like they did with other stars involved in similar compromising situations, have chosen to stand by the beleaguered golfing great.

Tiger was lucky. He only had to pay the $164 fine for speeding. 

As golfers would say, better lucky than good. The Tiger we knew and adored used to be both.


World boxing hero Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is running for congressman of Sarangani province under the Nacionalista Party of his namesake, presidential aspirant Manny Villar.

Memo to both Mannys:
Pacman’s unprecedented wins in these seven weight classes is a matter of record: Junior Welterweight; Lightweight; Super Featherweight; Flyweight; WBO Welterweight.

To win in this election after losing in his last run, Pacman has opponents who are in his very own corner. And they belong to another, much heavier, weight class. Deadweights.   


We thought so and we hoped so – this is what we wrote last week [1].

Regretfully, for Wesley So, the 16-year-old [2] high school student and grandmaster from Cavite province, Philippines,  his incredible streak of victory in the 2009 World Chess Cup came to an end with a disappointing 4-1 loss to his Russian opponent in the round of 16. Just four wins short of being the first Filipino world chess champion.

So it was not written. So it was not done. 


For this immigration official, no migration, thank you.

He was a cinch for a slot in the Lakas-Kampi-CMD party or he could have filed for his old seat as Congressman of Eastern Samar but Marcelino Libanan did not file his Certificate of Candidacy for any elective position and is staying put as Immigration Commissioner.

Cited by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce for his "commitment to excellence and good governance, reforms and promotion of inward trade, investments and tourism," Libanan has vowed to remain in office and continue his work there.

The next President, we think, would be well advised to keep him there. We hope he is listening. We mean, the next President.


It is very clear, GMA’s supporters insist, that for any lower elective post the Constitution says GMA can run.

Her detractors don’t disagree. But thinking beyond this election, they insist: GMA can run, but she can’t hide.


Many, including ex-president Fidel V. Ramos of late, continue clamoring for GMA, having filed her candidacy for representative of Pampanga in the 2010 election, to resign. No existing law, it is conceded, mandates that she should. So, why should she? The reason is delicadeza. Propriety.

By now, Vice-President Noli de Castro knows that this – GMA’s sense of delicadeza or propriety – is not the shortest way to the presidency; that he should have taken the longer route: run for election. 


One year later, the question is still being asked: Will he or won’t he? And this time, asked with much greater urgency. 

The hearing which may be the last on the Oakwood incident in 2003 is scheduled for December 16 and 17. The remaining defendants [3] that include Senator Trillanes aka Cavalier Antonio “Jun” Trillanes IV ’95 are hoping that Senator Honasan aka Cavalier Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan Jr. ’71, who missed, again, the last hearing on November 21, will finally testify for them.

Sorry, for this item, we are opting for no commentary, wishful, witful or otherwise. 


Another week  and another version of our poster for the 2010 Philippine presidential election – again, thanks to Cavalier Cleo Erfe ’69 who now thinks that with only 152 days before Philippine Election Day in 2010, [4] he has designed his last election poster. 

Sorry to disappoint WTW’s volunteer artist, but this could be wishful thinking, given the amendments to Certificates of Candidacy allowed by the Commission on Elections as well as the withdrawals and mergers of conscience or convenience, announced or unannounced – staples in  every election. Only in the Philippines?


Sharks fin was my choice for soup at dinner the other evening in a Makati restaurant with my fiancée and a guest the other night.

“That’s endangered specie,” my fiancée reminded me.

“At my age,” I asked her, “am I not more endangered than he?”


“The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it. The Congress, if not in session, shall, within twenty-four hours following such proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance with its rules without need of a call. The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within thirty days from its filing.
A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. The suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall apply only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in, or directly connected with, invasion. During the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, any person thus arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three days, otherwise he shall be released.”

Yes, boys and girls, this is quoted verbatim from Section 18, Article 7 (Executive Department) of the Philippine Constitution.


This week, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, by virtue of Proclamation 1959, put the province of Maguindanao under the state of martial law.

A picture appeared in the national papers showing Executive Secretary Ermita, aka Cavalier Eduardo Ermita ’57, holding a copy of the proclamation of what was described as “smiling” martial law.

Ermita was not smiling. Neither were many others who woke up that morning, not believing the administration’s claim that there was any basis for the declaration.


Philippine history now has these three martial law declarations on record:
  Proclamation 29; President Jose P. Laurel, September 21, 2009
  Proclamation 1081; President Ferdinand E. Marcos, September 21, 1972
  Proclamation 1959; President Gloria Arroyo-Macapagal; December 4, 2009

Would GMA’s name appear again on this list? Given the six months she has before her term ends, sans unexpected extensions, we do not think so. 


Item:   Maguindanao under martial law.

Drop three letters and what would we have? Mindanao under martial law.


The joint session of the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives on martial law in Maguindanao is the first ever in Philippine history.

The session is being held at the Batasang Pambansa [5] complex at Batasan Hills in Quezon City/ But it could just as well have been held in Manila at the Quirino Grandstand – if only to accommodate those legislators who seem to have one and only  one purpose in mind: grandstanding. 


Lt. General Ferrer aka Cavalier Raymundo “Ray” Ferrer ’77, before his designation as martial law administrator of Maguindanao, had earned high marks as a military commander with a “mind of his own.” [6].

Another Ferrer is a key player – Colonel Ferrer aka Cavalier Leo Ferrer ‘81, who commands the 601st Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army operating in the area.

So, what are the chances that this time, the military will not repeat the abuses that were pervasive during the last state of martial law in the Philippines?

We think the chances are more than fair. To quote a classmate of Colonel Ferrer, the chances are “ferrer than fair.” 


The lingering doubts on martial law notwithstanding and whatever fate befalls Proclamation 1959 – by an act of Congress, a decision by the Supreme Court or revocation by the President –
 we fear not that the Filipino soldier won’t do the right thing.

The Filipino soldier can be expected to perform well, despite being underpaid, underequipped – and under GMA. [7].


Using “How Many Days Oh Noble Cataline?” a plebe knowledge [8], we are continuing the countdown we started several issues back: 

Sir, there are 152 days, 3,648 hours, 218,880 minutes, 13,132,800 seconds and 26,265,600 ticks before May 10, 2010, before the Philippine national elections (or non-election).


@arf-arf ‘64
wtw 09-48
makati city, philippines

[a] Inang Bayan Pilipinas or Mother Philippines
[1] See (2009-12-02/”Top Ten Reasons Why Ebdane Bowed Out).”
[2] We acknowledge and regret our error in last week’s issue when we wrote last week that he is 17 years old
[3] Earlier this year, some defendants were granted pardon and released from imprisonment
[4] See our countdown at the end of this column
[5] National Legislature
[6] See article by Fe Zamora, Philippines Daily Inquirer, 12/06/09 
[7] Thanks for this quote goes to Cavalier Victor “Vic/VicE” Erfe ’69, WTW’s consistent conniver, correspondent, contributor and critic
[8] 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 do in  the countdown to the Philippine national election  – compute the days and convert them to hours, minutes, seconds and ticks.