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Witful Thinking, Wednesday

Winston “Arf-Arf” Arpon

PMA ‘64 



Postulates for a Presidency 


Jet-lagged and all, by a trip that we can only describe as a trip made in h_ll (a few particulars: a delayed departure in Manila, a missed connecting flight in Hong Kong, a forced sojourn at a hotel there and after a 12-hour delay that seemed like 24 hours, the final leg to San Francisco and then a long wait at the airport for our ride to our Marlin Cove apartment that did not materialize because our pick-up car couldn’t get out of our garage with a dead battery, we had to take a taxi), we badly needed something, someone, a combination of something and someone, anything at all, to gaud us into writing and completing and posting this issue and thus preserve an unbroken string of WTWs, nine of them, that followed a hiatus of 19 issues. 

And then, walla! Like magic, this came out of our cluttered mailbox to get our attention and push us into positive action:

“Finding time is not the hindrance. It is the will to find it. Like your WTW, trudging on week in and week out is no longer a task, it is a pleasure. As such, time will always be available.”

This was part of an email we got weeks ago from Cavalier Danilo “DanMelJim” Jimenez ’77 that led us to another email of his that, as you will see below, provided the source materials for this week’s center-“piece” subject: Postulates for a Presidency, the Aquino Presidency.  


Financial analysts claim that there are sufficient signs that the euro, brought down by the Greek debt crisis, may be turning the corner. 

Europe and the rest of the world should be europhic, we mean, euphoric. 


Pau Gasol of Spain was one of the key players of the Lakers team that successfully defended their NBA crown. 

In June, Rafael Nadal of Spain won the French Open at Roland Garros, his fifth, and then weeks later won Wimbledon, his second. 

In the same month, the national soccer team of Spain defeated the much-favored German eleven to win the World Cup in South Africa.

As we speak, Alberto Contador of Spain is leading the Tour de France.

What a couple of months for Spain! 

Are we seeing the return of the Spanish conquistadores, soldiers, explorers and adventurers no longer, but sportsmen? Francisco Pizarro, Hernando Cortez and Ponce de Leon must be rolling in their graves. 


As predicted, Tiger Woods, still the world’s number 1 golfer, was in contention during the 150th British Open at St. Andrews, the “Home of Golf,” where he had won two championships earlier. But the heralded golfer could do no better than an even par 72 on the last day, finishing tied for 23rd place.

The Open was won by an unheralded golfer from South Africa, Louis What’s-His-Name.   


"I accept your marching orders to transform our government….." POTP said in his inaugural speech, then followed it later with this, “Secretary de Lima, you have your marching orders. Begin the process of providing true and complete justice for all.” In preparing for his “State of the Nation” address, Aquino, according to Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said, "The president gave his marching orders to each cabinet member. They have two weeks to get to know the lay of the land." 

And now, former President Arroyo is giving her marching orders for the members of the minority party, the Lakas-Kampi, of which she is the Chair, to cooperate with the ruling Liberal party. 

Well and good. But this still bothers Cavalier Victor “VicE” [1] Erfe ’69 who has written us about this “greatest fear” of his – that with all these talk of marching orders, we may now be in “a state of MARTIAL LAW, without anybody knowing it.”


Randy David – remember the UP professor who captivated our attention, admiration and adulation with his decision to run against Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for the congressional seat in the second district of Pampanga and then disappointed many, including us, when he chose to withdraw for reasons that we can’t exactly recall? 

A columnist, he wrote recently [2]: "…they do not expect P-Noy to weave miracles in the next six years.

But this they expect from those who govern them: responsiveness and, above all, decency.

That means basically: don’t lie, don’t steal and don’t cheat." 

The reference to lying, stealing and cheating sounds familiar, almost lifted from the Honor System of the Cadet Corps Armed Forces of the Philippines, except for the order [3]. 


VPOTP [4] Jejomar “V-nay” Vinay has been appointed as chair of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council. In this capacity, he is now known as his country’s Housing Czar. The VPOTP, who has never been shy about his self-importance as the second highest official of the land and has been complaining about the inadequacy of the office he inherited from his predecessor. So, if he has not already done so, expect him to move to the Palace. No, not Malacanang Palace by the Pasig but the “Coconut Palace” by the Manila Bay. And don’t be surprised if he has it renamed as “Little Caesar’s Palace” or the “Czar’s Palace.” 


Our memory of the Aquino inauguration three weeks ago today includes the fly-by of the Philippine Air Force; of yellow confetti dropping from two choppers. That was a pretty sight, until a knowledgeable PAF fighter-pilot friend of ours said that such a fly-by should have at least four aircrafts. 

We can’t help but think that Secretary of National Defense Gazmin a.k.a. Cavalier Voltaire “Voltz” Gazmin ’68 has his work cut out for him. 

If only someone – whistle-blower, Facebooker, Twitter, Jhooser, whatever – can point the good Secretary to a trail of the money for modernization of the AFP from the conversion of the military’s base lands that changed hands from one President to the other: Fidel V. Ramos to Joseph Estrada to Gloria Arroyo Macapagal and apparently got lost in the hand-off, the new Secretary’s work may be easier.     


In less than two weeks, POTP Aquino will deliver his first SONA, State of the Nation Address to the 15th Congress. 

There goes that five again, a number we have noted in past issues, associated with this 15th President of the Philippines, the 5th President of the 5th Philippine Republic.


100 days is the norm for the so-called honeymoon, a period when a new President is given a higher level of support than criticism by the opposition and the media. No matter how long it lasts for POTP Aquino, the honeymoon will have to come to an end. 

But “there is no time limit as to when to criticize the new President,” [and P-Noy] “must be able to take and address those criticisms, so [must] his followers and alter egos,” to borrow from Cavalier Danilo “DanMelJim” Jimenez ’77, an unsolicited adviser to the Pres
ident like us, who shared with us earlier a number of postulates we think are worthy of serious consideration. [5]. 


As the first bachelor in Philippine history since the widower Elpidio Quirino became President about five decades ago, this President, we all know, can always have another honeymoon. 

It is all up to you, Mr. President, and of course, to First Girlfriend Shalani Soledad.   


The other week, we were privileged to be invited to the Makati Sports Club by the host, a member of the club, Cavalier Rizalino "Butch" Cabanban with other Cavaliers, Carlos "Chuck" Agustin '59; F "Bang" Adriano '70 and Ramon "MonMon" Mitra '88. 

It was not exactly the morning after the May 10 elections, but certainly the mourning that we know of, following the failure of Mitra to win a seat in the Senate.

But please don't cry for Monmon Mitra.  Reiterating to us the post-election message he posted after the election – that of having fought the good fight, fighting the way he thought was the right way And for which we can't consider him a loser.


We were in recent communication with Cavalier Juanito Rimando ’62 and curious, after losing touch with him for years, about what this company mate of ours, a former Dean of the Academics Group, PMA and one-time Assistant Superintendent, was up to.   

“What are you trying to celebrate?” we asked, in Loakan-speak [6].

“I'm doing fine….. No serious ailments.  Heart, sugar, blood pressure is fine and I eat whatever I want.  I read your witticism, laugh with it, and prolong my years. Had surgery at UPMC in Pittsburgh 3 months ago. I have to tell Nes Lim that UPMC deserves to be in the list of the best hospitals in the country which he posted some days ago. 

“…..And I am celebrating.”

But please, he asked, do not remove a letter from the last word. 

If he meant the letter ‘r’ in celebrating, we think that’s quite impressive for someone of our generation.


Last week we acknowledged Cavaliers Arturo “Tex” Balmaceda ’71 and Diosdado “Dong” Tabamo ’71 for their recent donation to the Loakan Educational Assistance Project of DJLF Foundation, Inc. Cavalier Severino “Rey” David ’83, Balmaceda wrote to us, “also delivered – same amount as we did.”


43 years after picking up my first set of golf club – an old one at the Officers Day Room of Naval Intelligence in Manila, I finally made 11 pars in one round. 

My scorecard:   Par on hole nr. 1; par on 5. two pars on 10; two on 12; two pars on 13; par on 16; two pars on 18. 

Trust me, Pards, Vlad and Bj [7], I did not play with Lito Alvarez, the golfer and Bureau of Customs Commissioner  


“Your competency in map reading has not deserted you,” Cavalier Ramon “Monet” Ong ’63 acknowledged, but he questioned our “competency in Math,” pointing out that the houses of General Mison and POTP Aquino on 73 Times St. and 25 Times St., respectively, are on the SAME SIDE of the road, and the even-numbered ones on the other side. “Therefore, the two houses are but 24 houses away from each other — not 48 houses,” as we had written last week .

Our dead reckoning was dead wrong, we must admit. And Ong, former associate professor, Department of Mechanics, PMA is right when he says, “Col Sta. Ines, your old Math Instructor would have awarded you -0.3 for that error.” Yes, boys and girls, that’s a minus sign before the 0.3 [8.] 


Our commentary last week about Senator Lacson not using his pork barrel in “his entire political career,” is not entirely correct, according to Cavalier Vicente “Vic” Batac ’71, the senator’s classmate. “Ping declared his opposition to pork early on,” Batac writes, “but he did try to make use of his pork at the start, maybe two to three years as a new senator. He wanted to see if there is a way to disburse the pork without succumbing to graft and corrupt practices. He ended up charging two of his staff and a local government executive. He was so frustrated by the whole thing, that he finally declared that he will not use his pork.”


Past issues of WTW – all 62 of them, to include this one – are accessible through this link, We wish to convey our acknowledgment and thanks to the dynamic duo that made this possible: Cavaliers Cleo “Erf” Erfe ’69 and Harold Ochoco ’81, plus special best wishes to Erfe who celebrates his birthday today somewhere in Virginia.


The planned sex education in Philippine public schools has become problematic for many, including the new Secretary of Education. 

What’s the big deal? Why can't they teach it like they did to this girl?

A second grader came home from school and said to her grandmother, "Grandma, guess what? We learned how to make babies today." 

The grandmother, more than a little surprised, tried to keep her cool. "That's interesting, " she said, "how do you make babies?" 

"It's simple," replied the girl. "You just change 'y' to 'i' and add 'es.'"


We begin starting this week our countdown of how long the present administration has been in office [9]. using for our countdown, “How Many Days Oh Noble Cataline?” a plebe knowledge [10]. 

Sir, 21 days, 504 hours, 30,240 minutes, 1,814,400 seconds and 3,628,800 ticks have passed since Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III assumed office as President of the Philippines.


dateline: foster city, california 

@arf-arf ‘64

wtw 2010-10

volume 062



[1]   We would like to correct what we wrote last week. MVE, his other moniker we incorrectly indicated as ‘Manila Vice.’ The correct one is ‘Marami Vice,” clearly akin to the popular TV series, ‘Miami Vice.

[2]   “Decency and the presidency,” Public Lives, Philippines Daily Inquirer, Jul 1

[3]    In the Honor System: Cadets don’t lie, cheat or steal.

[4]   Vice-President of the Philippines

[5]     Jimenez’s other postulates:  

P-Noy like all duly elected presidents before him derives his power from the people.

And that the job of people he appointed to be his alter egos, is not to massage his ego but to project to the people his vision and design.

That people who supported P-Noy should realize that they have a greater responsibility in making sure that P-Noy maintains his pro-people-polarity .

That supporting the people means supporting P-Noy and that if P-Noy deviates from this stance, his supporters must have failed him.

That supporting P-Noy per se just because of the vantage one gets from such is neither loyalty nor service.

That P
-Noy stands as the President of the Filipino people regardless of who they voted for or supported or even if they despised candidate Noynoy.

That the hero on the carabao's back is neither taller than the carabao nor more powerful but can see the throng coming.

That cheers or jeers must be welcomed if they are the true people's voice.

That there is only one side P-Noy, his supporters, alter egos, critics and non-believers must take:  the people's. Any other alternative is unacceptable.

[6]   Long before jejemons, the language that we understand has become popular among present-day Filipino youth, there was cadet barracks lingo embraced, not necessarily by choice, by another group of Filipino youth who spent time in Loakan, Baguio City as cadets of the Philippine Military Academy. What are you trying to celebrate is an example of that lingo.

[7]   Cavaliers Randolph Espejo ’74, Vlad Punto ’74 and Gregorio Carino ’69 – golfers all from the NEG, the North East Group of the PMA Alumni Association. Pards,  the unofficial reporter, writes interesting golf summaries for every golf game that he plays, posting and sharing them with his fellow reNEGades

[8]   The -0.3 (yes, there’s a minus sign there) is outside and below the 0.0 to 3.0 range daily graded tests.  

[9]   Each week, a segment of WTW is dedicated to a commentary on events and issues involving the administration of POTP Aquino who took office on June 30, 2010 that coincidentally was a Wednesday, the same day that we post Witful Thinking, Wednesday.

[10]   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.


Witful Thinking, Wednesday