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Winston "Arf-Arf" Arpon
PMA '64

7th Heaven
Or Is It Cloud 9?


Yes, this is WTW for 2009-11-18. Last week’s which carried this date was actually for 2009-11-11.

We knew from past experience that you would catch this one like you always do, Cavalier Gregorio “Blackjack” Carino Jr. ’69. But you have our “All Right” [1] that it was a typo, not a ‘nice try,’ nor a crude attempt, to publish this column ‘one week in advance.’


Dateline: Las Vegas, Nevada; Saturday, November 14, 2009.

Manny Pacquiao makes history.

Miguel Cotto is history.

And the classic fight between the two gladiators, our story.

A story for all of us who love the sport to tell and retell, especially if Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao’s wish that his son retires from the ring is followed. 


Meanwhile, representatives from both camps have been sparring, talks having started for a blockbuster bout between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

An 8-5 underdog in the early betting, the undefeated Mayweather may weather Pacquiao's speed and power punches.

We think not. We hope not.


Going the rounds of the Internet is a picture of POTUS Obama on November 11, US Veterans Day, on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Arlington cemetery. With Obama in the picture are three military men rendering a salute and a civilian with his right hand over his breast. Obama is doing neither. No salute, no hand over his breast.

The other picture, also of Obama, shows him bowing before the Japanese Emperor Akihito, in a 45-degree tilt deemed excessive by observers who believe that the customary and desirable 15-degree tilt is sufficient to show courtesy and respect; beyond that is a show of deep respect, bordering on submission.

For once perhaps in our continuing commentary on POTUS Obama, we do not know what to think.


At the forum in the University of Santo Tomas, during her first visit to the Philippines, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was asked when the US would have a female President. Her response: "The Philippines is ahead of us. I really should ask you what is the secret of your success."

A diplomatic answer from America’s number one diplomat. And also, from someone who knew that somewhere in nearby Singapore, her boss – he who would prefer not to have a female US President until after his second term – could be listening.


By choosing a showbiz personality in Edu Manzano for their vice-presidential candidate, the Lakas-KAMPI-CMD party resorted to what used to be a tried formula but now has become a tired formula.

On this one, we have to admit we have been outWTWed, we mean outwitted. We don’t mind and if he were alive, Joe Guevara himself wouldn’t have minded either. Except that like us, Joe Guevara would be surprised to know that this came from a least unlikely source – Armando Doronila, one of the most serious columnists we know.


The Senate committee on accountability of public officers and investigations popularly known as the Blue Ribbon committee would still recommend the filing of charges against two whistle-blowers for graft in connection with the anomalous $329 million National Broadband Network (NBN) project deal with the ZTE Corporation of China. Committee chairman, Senator Richard J. Gordon, has rejected changes that would exclude Jose "Joey" de Venecia III and Rodolfo Noel "Jun" Lozada, Jr. from indictment.

Whistle blowing, it seems, has become a dangerous occupation, Gordon and his committee may have heard from their last whistle-blowers.


After the Aging Pinoy and Sabungeros, for which we had a commentary in an earlier issue [2] another petitioner for accreditation has been denied by the Comelec, this time a group of gays calling themselves "Ladlad." [3]

Evidently, two lads or more do not a party-list make, in the view of the Comelec Second Division that promulgated the decision denying the petition for registration of the Ang Ladlad party for the party-list system of representation in the House of Representatives.

A memo, therefore, to the Comelec:

Would you consider an anagram, Daldal for Ladlad? [4]


Secretary of Defense Gilbert Teodoro, last Saturday, had one more defense to make before bowing out – defense of the appointment of national security adviser Norberto Gonzales to the defense portfolio.

As standard-bearer of the party of an administration that will certainly be the target of attacks in the campaign, the outgoing Defense Secretary may realize pretty soon that his defense of Malacanang’s appointment of Gonzales may not be his last defensive act for his former boss by the Pasig river.


Probably for the first time throughout her presidency, it was an unusually lean delegation that accompanied GMA to the APEC summit in Singapore, probably her last trip abroad.

The obvious reason: Las Vegas and Manny Pacquiao. But did we hear ‘lame duck?’


“Gibo, Edu drawing raves.” This is how an official of the pro-administration Lakas-KAMPI-CMD party described the tandem of Gilberto Teodoro and Edu Manzano on the eve of their proclamation as the party’s standard-bearers in a convention at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

Digging graves, not drawing raves, would be more appropriate, we think, if the latest polls are to be believed.


Top Ten Reasons Why Ebdane is Running for President [5]
10.   One more “suitor” to add to Loren Legarda’s lengthening list of presidential candidates.
09.   The Man from Zambales Loves The Man from La Mancha and his Karaoke: This is my quest… to follow the stars… no matter how hopeless… no matter how far…” [6]
08.   He has the proper credentials, initial-ly speaking. H.E., for Hermogenes Ebdane; H.E., for His Excellency.  
07.   The former Secretary of Public Works and Highways will get things done: his way or the highway!  [7]


Down under, Tiger Woods won the Australian Masters. For the world’s number one golfer, this was, for this year, victory number 7.

Over in Las Vegas, Manny Pacquiao won his bout against the reigning welterweight champion. For the world’s number one boxer pound-for-pound, this was world boxing championship number 7.

In the Philippines, Loren Legarda had a chance to make it 7, three in a row. But she blew it.

On the day after Pacquiao rewrote boxing history, La Loren chose neither Hermogenes Ebdane nor Nicanor Perlas, either of whom could have been suitor number 7. 

After months of La Loren’s version of shadow boxing, she finally sat down for dinner with and picked suitor number 5, Manny Villar of the Nacionalista Party.


How La Loren flipped from her Nationalist People’s Coalition to the Nacionalista Party was easier than flipping a coin.

She made it look as easy as ABC. Drop the C of NPC, and walla! She becomes NP!


Not one known to let a good opportunity pass, the journalist-turned-politician told the press “it was a day of two Mannys,” hinting at a Manny Villar victory in May 2010 similar to Manny Pacquiao’s the day earlier.

To observers like us, her expectations may be a lot too many.


With the team-up, supporters of Manny Villar are in 7th heaven.

Knowing La Loren and her predictable unpredictability, we think those supporters should be on Cloud 9.


“I want the country to be great again, green again….what I bring to the vice presidency is green economy.”

Don’t grin now, but La Loren, unwittingly perhaps, may have added more color to the election campaign: NP green versus LP yellow.


“Wished you had gone with her to Greece and participated in the GFMD [8] roundtable.  The setting was perfect… does not matter what you know, since whatever you’ll say will sound Greek to them anyway!”

Why, in the name of Aphrodite, did I not think of this before my fiancée left me for that conference in Athens?

It’s too late now, I know, but thank you just the same, Cavalier Harold Ochoco ’81.


Using “How Many Days Oh Noble Cataline?” a plebe knowledge [9], we are continuing the countdown we started several issues back: 

Sir, there are 173 days, 4,152 hours, 249,120 minutes, 14,947,200 seconds and 29,894,400 ticks before May 10, 2010, before the Philippine national elections (or non-election).


@arf-arf ‘64
wtw 09-45
makati, metro manila, philippines

[1] When a PMA cadet, under the Honor System, is asked and responds “All Right!” it’s his or her word of honor that he or she is telling the truth.
[2] 2009-10-21 WTW/”Outside the Sun is Brightly Shining, Or is It?”   
[3] Ladlad, in Filipino, translates to ‘out in the open,’ ‘coming out of the closet,” to use a common idiom.
[4] Daldal, in Filipino, translates to: talk, talk, talk.
[5] We indicated in our last issue that we have  joined in the speculations – largely those in the PMA e-forums, PnC (PlebesaNdCavaliers) and ACF (Academy Cavaliers’ Forum) – on this subject, Top Ten Reasons Why Ebdane is Running for President, at one reason per week. Contributions from readers are welcome. As we have done this week, we will acknowledge the contributor, unless he/she asks us not to do so.   
[6] A contribution of Cavalier Victor “Vic” Erfe ’69
[7] A contribution of Cavalier Vladimir “Vrad/Vlad” Punto ‘74
[8] Global Forum on Migration and Development
[9] 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.