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Winston "Arf-Arf" Arpon
PMA '64

HR 1109: Con-Ass


Cha!   Cha!
Tsk!   Tsk!

I must say I am perfectly comfortable with what has occurred in the last couple of weeks: her transition from friend to fiancée.

However, I have one problem, not with her but with the French. Because of the nuances of the French language, she’s got seven letters, as fiancée, to only six for me, as fiancé. Then again – in letters, as in love and in life – this is not the first time she has more than I have. And you can bet this won’t be the last.

But in this relationship, who is counting?


Once more, we realize we seem to be running out of alibis for our tardiness.

Cavalier Abraham “Abe” Paray ’64 warned not to blame my friend, er fiancée. So, how about Kobe Bryant, the Lakers and the NBA Finals? And for an additional alibi, how about the French Open?


WTW reader and friend, Irina Arribas, shared with us this tidbit of history that she culled from we know not where:

Many years ago in Scotland, a new game was invented. It was ruled 'Gentlemen Only…Ladies Forbidden,' thus, the word GOLF entered into the English language.

With more and more ladies on the golf courses nowadays, maybe it’s time for a change – from the masculine-sounding GOLF to a feminine-sounding one, GOLA, as in Gentlemen Only, Ladies Also. 


Item:  Pacquiao makes it to the Forbes list, number 57 of the 100 most powerful celebrities in the world for 2009. 

First it was Time's 100 Influential People of the World. Now, this.

Cavalier Francisco “Mike” San Miguel can’t be wrong. Pacquiao, as in pakyaw (take all) will be in the English dictionary soon (see 09-05-xx WTW/"In this Corner: Manny & Ricky & Vlady & Chucky & Glory").


US Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently visited his counterpart, Philippine Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro.

Gates and Teodoro held a closed-door meeting at the Camp Aguinaldo Officers’ Clubhouse.

We do not think they discussed the possibility that anytime soon, US President Barack Obama will be visiting his counterpart:  Teodoro’s boss, the Philippine President and Commander-in-Chief.


The results of the latest survey of Pulse Asia are out and it would seem that the aspirants expecting to see action in the presidential election of 2010 belong to either of three groups.

The First Five:  Noli de Castro; Francis “Chiz” Escudero; Joseph Estrada; Manny Villar; and, Mar Roxas.

The Substitutes:  Loren  Legarda; Jejomar Binay; Ping Lacson;  Richard Gordon; Manuel Pangilinan; Reynato Puno; and, Gilberto Teodoro.

The Reserves:  Eddie Villanueva;  Bayani Fernando; Mike Velarde; Ed Panlilio.

We say:  Simulan na ang pambobola. We mean, play ball!


We think it would be interesting to track – and track we will, gladly – the so-called ‘presidentiables’ of each group, all 16 of them, trading places from survey to survey, on the basis of their performances or lack thereof, actual or perceived, from now until Election Day.


We are left to speculate why Cavalier Panfilo “Ping” Lacson ‘71, our sentimental favorite, is not among the five that are reportedly running neck to neck in the presidential race. But we think it’s because his political enemies are after his neck in the unsolved Dacer-Corbito kidnapping and murder.


Headline:  Mancao to identify “Bigote.”[1]

Raul, get me my razor, quick!


For our center-“piece” subject this week, we were all set with our commentary on the House Bill on the Right of Reply, a measure that seeks to require news organizations to print or air the response of anyone who feels aggrieved by any news item that the media outlets used.

But we had to reconsider, back to the drawing board for us, when we learned late Tuesday night of the approval of House Resolution 1109, calling for a constitutional assembly (con-ass) for charter change (cha-cha).


We recall we had something to say about this several months ago, and thanks to our blog (, we found it (see WTW 09-02-04/”Two to Tango, One to Cha-Cha (And Where Are You, JA, Sir?).”

So, Cha-Cha redux is what we have as center-“piece” subject for this issue.


With a humble caveat that he’s “not a professional political scientist or commentator” and welcoming “corrections and comments” from his readers, Cavalier Jose “Joe” Dado ’55 wrote that “contrary to proposals from some politicians, there is no need for a new Philippine Constitution…..We already had five constitutions, including the present one.”

He made his posting to the mailgroup of the Northern California (NORCAL) alumni chapter. The timestamp of his email: Tuesday, June 2, 2009, 1:14 PM. In a matter of hours, House Resolution 1109 calling for a constitutional assembly (con-ass) was approved..

We do not think Cavalier Dado’s posting was responsible for the undue haste taken by the Philippine House of Representatives to approve the controversial resolution, in the opinion of many, rammed through by the allies of the Philippine President.                                 


We did think, as Cavalier Dado did, that Cha-Cha is not necessary. We did say this, too:

No, to Cha-Cha, if it means charter change. Yes, to Cha-Cha, if it means Character Change.

A change in the character of the people, starting with the House representatives. Not a change in the constitution of the Philippines but a change in the constitution, the morale fiber of the people; again, starting with their representatives in Congress.


In our last issue (09-05-29/”Intimacy, Hidden or Hidden; Ay Naku, Ay Na-Koh”), we reported on the 19-6 vote of the conference committee on House Resolution 1109, paving the way for its approval by the House of Representatives, and this was our reaction:

They say: Cha! Cha!

We say: Tsk! Tsk!


To the recent turn of events – approval of HR 1109 by voice vote, in the middle of the night – we have the same reaction, but this time with a little bit more:

Cha! Cha!

Tsk! Tsk! 


Sorry, boys and girls, but this is a decent column. We can express outrage, umbrage and indignation only by the medley of these special characters.


The approval of HR 1109 came with the southwest monsoon, habagat in local term, in the Philippines. According to the Weather Bureau today, rains are expected in the next three days.

Even the heavens are weeping.


1081.  1109.  Remember these numbers, boys and girls.

1081, for Proclamation 1081, circa 1972. 1109, for House Resolution, circa 2009. 

"1081" resulted in the declaration of martial law and of Ferdinand Marcos continuing as President for 14 years.

Will "1109" make Gloria Arroyo be President for as many number of years, or longer?


Thelma Vhattyam, constant WTW reader and friend took us to task (“mad at you “) for what we wrote in our last issue – our reference to her “writing either from her mansion in Michigan or Florida.”

Sorry, Thelma, for now, we will stand by what we have written. But we are willing to believe you, if we get invited to Florida and Michigan to see for ourselves that indeed, as you insist, yours are “humble homes, not mansions.”


Whistleblower or not, General Taguba (WTW 09-05-xx/"Balikatan/Balikbayan: Dynamics of Whistle Blowing) continues to be the subject of emails we receive from WTW readers. This one is from Mona Lisa Dasbach:

"Shortly after he retired, GEN Taguba told Joe and me that it will take a decade "to grow" another US general of Philippine descent. Sad."    (Emphasis, ours).



This is according to Cavalier Alfonso “Pansy/Pension” (Ponca, to WTW) Alvarez ’83, author of a blog we have found very readable and interesting, if irreverent, especially to the in the “corridors of power,” as he puts it…”

The above should have read:

This is according to Cavalier Alfonso “Ponsoy/Ponsoi” (PonsWA, to WTW) Alvarez ’83, author of a blog we have found very readable and interesting, if irreverent, especially to those in the “corridors of power,” as he puts it.”

Thanks, PonsWA, for catching and reporting the error.


As this issue was ready for posting to WTW’s “usual suspects,” its regular distribution – PMA forums, selected individual addressees and of course, the WTW blog – Cavalier Francisco "Mike" San Miguel '51, sent this appeal, with a copy to us:

"Kahilingan ng Isang Matanda (Request from One Senior)

"May I respectfully request a ceasefire in recriminations/accusations at iba pang mahanghang na salita (and other expressions of bitterness) up to Independence Day June 12. We may resume firing after the observation (corrected later to observance) of this significant day."

Our response to Cavalier and Beterano[2] San Miguel:

It's a week to go before Philippine Independence Day, a moratorium as you suggested may be well in order. But it's too late now for this WTW issue to be rewritten and re-crafted.

But don't blame us. Blame HR 1109. And most of all, blame all those, known or unknown, open or in hiding, from within or without Malacanang, who in our view have wittingly or unwittingly brought about this cloud of uncertainty upon the Filipino people as to imperil their present and their future. 

This, we believe very strongly to be true; and for once, in 22 issues of this column, this is not wishful, not frivolous thinking.

We cannot be more serious.


[1] Bigote, or Bearded One, is allegedly the mastermind of the killing


@arf-arf ’64
wtw 09-22   
makati, philippines