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Winston "Arf-Arf" Arpon
PMA '64


An “A” for the Comelec


"Some will kill. Some will be killed.”

"I face the world as it is, and I cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people.”

"For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al-Qaida's leaders to lay down their arms.”

"To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism; it is recognition of history."

Quotes from George W. Bush? No.

Quotes from Barack Obama? Yes. These are excerpts from the speech the POTUS worked on, according to reports, all the way through the night on the flight to from Washington to Norway to accept the Nobel Peace prize.


Another title added to the many that Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao holds: Pangmundong Kamao [1].
The phrase means "Fist of the World."

Pest of the World, this title may conceivably turn out to be, if Pacman continues fighting outside of the ring on several other fronts: singing; movies; politics, among others.


Until Tiger Woods ends his self-imposed leave from the game of golf, the world has to be content with his record to date of 82 victories, 14 majors – and one major accident.


As accounts and admissions of Tiger’s “transgressions” of infidelity continue to proliferate, the count has grown from one to two women involved, as was originally reported, to 10, then 12.

That’s more than par for the course for your average Filandering husbands, we mean, philandering husbands.


"I will strive to be a better person and the husband and the father that my family deserves," the golf icon promised.

If he stays away from the game too long, he may very well add this promise: to be a better golfer.


Tiger is 35 years old and has 14 major tournaments to his record. At this age, Jack Nicklaus whose record of 18 majors Tiger is chasing, had won only 13. Advantage, Tiger.

But after Tiger’s major accident and indefinite leave from the game, it’s Advantage Jack.


The Philippine Daily Inquirer had a scathing editorial on the decision of the COMELEC to unseat  Grace Padaca as governor of Isabela province. The title of the editorial: Dis-graced.

She has 15 days to appeal the decision. If that appeal fails, then Benjamin Dy will serve out the remaining five months of the governor’s term. If or when Dy does, we think the Inquirer owes Grace Padaca a follow-up editorial: Dy-sgraced and Dy-smissed.   

Until Padaca’s improbable victory over Benjamin Dy in the gubernatorial elections three years ago, the Dy family had an unbroken stranglehold on Isabela politics for years. The unseating of Padaca will revive the family dy-nasty. We mean, dynasty.


A rose for Governor wannabe Ebdane, aka Cavalier Hermogenes E. Ebdane, Jr. ’70.

Rose Magsaysay gave up her candidacy for governor of Zambales and giving way to the "wisdom and experience" of the native of Candelaria town and ex-future President of the Philippines.


“I am not an admirer of Speaker Prospero Nograles (not even when we were classmates in high school) and much less of his handlers but I heartily applauded when Proclamation 1959 – Martial Law in Maguindanao – was announced.
“Martial law is in fact in the arsenal made available by the Constitution to the government for handling problematic problems. My view is that a President can use this scalpel at his/her pleasure, with or without the prescribed Constitutional basis, for as long as he/she is CREDIBLE.”

No, boys and girls, this is not a quote from Representative Teddy Locsin, former speechwriter of the late President Corazon Aquino, who stood up in favor of Proclamation 1959; but rather, a post-mortem on the historic joint session of the  during the Philippine Congress on martial law in Maguindanao province by an ordinary citizen [2].  


In that joint session on martial law in Maguindanao, Secretary of Justice Agnes Devanadera 
had more than her share of intense grilling; by all indications, she was not able to win over members of Congress to her side.

She couldn’t lick ‘em, so she has joined them. Amending a COC filed earlier by a relative, she is now running for a congressional seat in Quezon province.


GMA just signed a law to protect Banahaw and San Cristobal – two sacred mountains in the Philippines.

That's better, Madame President, than protecting sacred cows.


The COMELEC has indicated that the delivery of poll machines and training could be delayed.

One dreaded nightmare to another; FOE to DOE: Failure Of Elections to Delay of Elections.


What’s wrong with the picture in Philippine newspapers the other day: Manny Villar, raising the hands of and flanked by Satur Ocampo and Liza Masa, guest candidates of Villar’s Nacionalista Party?

Ocampo and Masa were on the wrong side. Both of them should have stood on Villar’s left.


Vice-Presidential candidate Loren Legarda: Time for the organized Left to join politics on a national scale.

She didn’t really mean national but Nacionalista, her party.


Our thanks to Cavalier Roberto “Bobby” Santiago ’68 for the invitation, but we could not make it to the reunion of former colleagues in the Armed Forces, a good number of them members of the staff of Task Force Makabayan [3} under Cavalier Fidel “Spider” Singson ’57.

Now retired and basically home-bound, they’ve changed it to a more appropriate name – Task Force Makabahay [4}.


Francis “Noki” Aquino entered PMA and would have graduated with the Class of 2001 but did not; yet, he remains connected to PMA’s Long Gray Line in a very meaningful way, like the 800-plus members of Gray Knights Society, Inc. of which he is the current chairman.

They all are former PMA cadets who, for one reason or another, left the Academy before graduation. Their mission: to help former cadets cope with life after PMA.


I told my fiancée that several friends of mine in my other life – the military – have been asking about our preparations for D-Day.

Her response: “Dooms Day?”


Apparently playing the numbers game – or is it infatuation with the number 8? – the Philippine Commission on Election has completed the review of all COCs [5], choosing 8 presidential, 8 vice-presidential and 58 senatorial aspirants to pursue their candidacy.


Getting the nod from the Comelec included senatorial candidates Mitra aka Cavalier Ramon “MonMon” Mitra ’88 and Querubin aka Cavalier Ariel Querubin ’79.

Missing from the list are Nicanor Perlas and Alimorong aka Cavalier David Torralba Alimorong ’62, for President and Lim, aka Cavalier Danilo D. Lim ’78, for Senator.   


No two candidates could have been more alike than Querubin and Lim – both of them sharing the same address, Camp Aguinaldo Detention Center; both products of military schools, Philippine Military Academy and United States Military Academy, respectively; and both carried by a major party, the Nacionalista and Liberal party, respectively.

But we can’t figure out why the Comelec approved the COC of one and not the other. Do you?


For all these recent acts and decisions, the COMELEC, the Second Division in particular, deserves no less than a grade of “A.”

A for Arbitrary.


Whatever basis the Comelec may have used or misused in its decision on the Final Eight Presidentiables, Cavalier Cleo “Erfs” Erfe ’69, could not have been happier. Littered with scraps of previous versions of our 2010 Philippine Elections poster is his basement in Aldie (yes, Virginia, WTW volunteer artist Erfe lives there).
Four or five versions later, – and Heaven knows how much caffeine and complaints from his wife Vivian – Erfe is certain that he has now designed his last and final version of the 2010 RP Elections poster for posting in our BLOG for this column.

We, on the other hand, must remain reluctant to share Erfe’s optimism.

Perlas and Lim are appealing their exclusion from the list of presidential and senatorial candidates, respectively. How appealing their arguments will be to the Second Division of the Comelec or to the Supreme Court (the appellants claim that the Comelec decision is unconstitutional) is anybody’s guess.

Then, there are withdrawals and/or mergers that cannot be discounted:
Jamby – Jumping ship;
Gordon – Getting de los Reyes;
Estrada – Endorsing Villar;
Villanueva – Veering towards Aquino;
Gibo – Giving up in favor of Malacanang’s ultimate if secret choice.

With still 12,528,000 seconds to go before Election Day (see our continuing countdown below), anything can happen. In the Philippines, and especially in Philippine politics, the only surprise, it would seem, is having no surprises.


Last week, we wrote:
Philippine history now has these three martial law declarations on record:
  Proclamation 29; President Jose P. Laurel, September 21, 2009

The year was 1944, one reader corrected us, and he is absolutely right [6].


From what we have read and we have read quite a lot, Conrado de Quiros strikes us as someone who, when or as he writes, would jaw rather than joke; lambaste rather than laugh; choose snide, sneer and sarcasm over smile. Recently, however, he surprised us when he wrote that “in this country,” referring of course to the Philippines, “jest has always proven more powerful than gist."

On this, we can’t disagree with a favorite columnist of ours. But we won’t mind either if a reader or two of WTW gives us credit for gist, once in a while.


Using “How Many Days Oh Noble Cataline?” a plebe knowledge [7], we are continuing the countdown we started several issues back: 

Sir, there are 145 days, 3,480 hours, 208,800 minutes, 12,528,000 seconds and 25,056,000 ticks before May 10, 2010, before the Philippine national elections (or non-election).


@arf-arf ‘64
wtw 09-49
makati city, philippines

[1] This title comes from Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo when she present an award to the multi-titled Filipino boxer, the nation’s highest – Order of Sikatuna (Rank of Datu).
[2] Cavalier Victor “VicE” Erfe ’69, WTW correspondent, contributor, critic.
[3] Task Force Patriotic.
[4] Task Force Domesticated
[5] Certificate of Candidacy
[6] Our thanks to Romeo “Fards” Fajardo, x92, for noticing the typo error, as he has done several times in past issues of WTW. 
[7] 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.