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Witful Thinking, Wednesday

Winston “Arf-Arf” Arpon

PMA ‘64 

Yes, Money Changed Hands in this Election 


This is Vol. 64 of WTW. Yes, Bj, we’re closing in on 100.

But help us out here, please. For whatever reason, we like the number 64. Can you tell us why? 

By the way, this has nothing to do with squares, specifically 64 squares on the chess board.


We thought that “Class Warfare,” (alternative title, “Battle of the Classes: Trench or Stench Warfare?”), our early choice as center-“piece” subject of this issue was a good one. Then we got word of this election in the US, including the word that money changed hands during that election, you can’t fault us for changing our mind.  


Now comes this report of a massive online campaign by the Avaaz community [1] resulting in a “stunning victory against corruption.” A “Clean Record” law has been passed in Brazil – a bold proposal that bans any politician convicted of crimes like corruption and money laundering from running for office. This was stunning because with nearly one-fourth of the Brazilian Congress under investigation for corruption, it was expected that the law would never pass. 

Avaaz members fought daily with congressmen who tried every trick in the book to kill, delay, amend and weaken the bill. But victory was won, after the launch of the largest online campaign in Brazilian history, a petition of over two million signatures, half a million on-line actions and tens of thousands of phone calls.

That this could happen in the Philippines be wishful thinking, at best? We hope not. With a President at the helm who has given marching orders to his administration to fight corruption, we will settle for waitful thinking. A wait-and-see attitude, and in the parlance of our good, old Loakan barracks, “let us to see…..” 


Wikipedia, we have known for a good number of years and it is on our A-list of objects on the Internet we cannot live without. 

Wikileaks, on the other hand, we didn't know, until it figured prominently in this week's leak of some 900 US classified documents on the war in Afghanistan. 

Leak it or not, we mean, like it or not, you can rest assured that Wikileaks is now and never will be on our A-list; it will remain an Internet object we can live without.  


It has been in existence, we learned, since 1990 but it was our first time to join the PAPC, the Philippine American Press Club, at the Solita's Club and Restaurant in South San Francisco last Saturday. 

The occasion: the 2nd Quarterly Kapihan. The subject of the kapihan [2].

After a modest brunch of Filipino dishes, but generous for the $15 entrance fee, we listened to eight speakers talk about "A New Era in Philippine Politics."

Yes, Bj, it says "new era;" not good, better or best era, for which we may have to attend in the next six year of PNoy's era, a lot more kapihans – and drink a lot more coffee.  


House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman, a lawyer, is challenging the legality of the Truth Commission. LeChe. We mean Legaleche. We mean legalese. 


Former Energy Secretary Reyes a.k.a. Cavalier Angelo “Angie” Reyes ’66 says that party-list group 1-UTAK [3] is not in a position to withdraw his nomination as its number one nominee, as he never authorized it. “I am not dropping my nomination,” Reyes said categorically in a TV interview.

For this, we think we have a word in the parlance of good, old Loakan barracks – and Reyes knows this as well: Insisting! 


The election was held in Fairfax, Virginia on Sunday, as we had indicated in last week’s WTW [4]. On Monday, we received this report:

“I volunteered to be the Comelec (Commissioner of Election for the NorthEast Coast Chapter. The election was clean and honest. No "Hello Marci" tape. 

“No truth to the rumor that the election was rigged because Cav. Gabby Riego de Dios was elected as VP. 

“I must confess though that money changed hands but it was contribution to support the DJLF scholars. [5].   

“Anyway, Harold Ochoco is the new president, Gabby is VP, Cav. Lyle Rosos is secretary and Levi Cleofe is the new treasurer. 

“The new president made an excellent acceptance speech, who said his childhood dream is to be president of the Philippines but being president of NECC (sic) is good for the meantime.”

The report was not signed Marci or Garci or Merci, but Marcial J DeLeon ’68 aka MJ.


Ochoco and Riego de Dios are classmates, both members of PMA Class ’81. But we take MJ’s word that Riego’s election was not rigged.


Ochoco is the son of former FOIC, Flag Officer in Command, Philippine Navy, Cavalier Brillante “Chocs” Ochoco ’55. It was at the home of the older Ochoco where the first set of officers were elected after the East Coast USA Chapter was formed, thanks to the initiative of Cavalier Voltaire “Voltz” Gazmin ’68, then Defense Attache at the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. and now Secretary of National Defense.  


Ochoco apparently did better than another ‘presidentiable,’ Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro. On September 8, 2009, Ochoco hosted for the East Coast Chapter and introduced then SND and ‘presidentiable’  Teodoro which was the center-“piece” subject of one of our issues [6].   


In his acceptance speech, President-elect Cavalier Harold Ochoco ’81 took a page or two from the inaugural speech of another President, POTP Aquino. Ochoco, like Aquino, spoke in both Pilipino and English, repeating Aquino’s references to wang-wang, personal experiences in common with his constituents and the question of who is the boss. 


In outlining his “vision and road map for the Charter,” Ochoco promised that the new officers will “take our role seriously and to lead without fanfare. In Tagalog, gagawin namin and aming trabaho na walang wang-wang!”


Speaking for the new set of officers, he vowed “to do whatever we can to make your journey with 

us to be comfortable and memorable to everyone.” His reason, echoing PNoy: “Kayo and Boss namin!” [7].


It hardly rhymes with Aquino’s PNoy, but we think we can make a case for PHarold, as Ochoco’s nom de guerre.


We commiserate with the children of Cavalier Abraham “Abe” Paray ’64 who passed away last Sunday in Manila, Philippines. With his passing two years after the death of his wife [8],  Paray leaves behind a family, the first in PMA Class ’64, without a father and mother. 


“FILIPINO is the guy from IBP. He speaks PILIPINO.” This, we received from Cavalier Victor ‘VicE/Marami Vice” Erfe ’69, a correction to what
we wrote in last week’s WTW – “Speaking entirely in Filipino – a first we think for any Philippine President; previous Presidents delivering their SONA in English, or occasionally, in English and Filipino…..”:

Yes, boys and girls of IBP [9], like Erfe says, you are Filipinos and you speak Pilipino; you can’t use one for the other.


Unless we made a typo error – and we didn’t – we have been misspelling the name of Catiline, like many generations of PMA cadets, “for over a hundred years now,” claims Brigadier General Ong, a.k.a. Cavalier Ramon “Monet” Ong ’63. Ong is referring, of course, to our regular feature, the plebe knowledge, “How Many Days Oh Noble Cataline?”  the vehicle for our countdown of the days that the Aquino administration has been in office.

Those who went to Ateneo de Manila High School and studied Latin and Cicero, Ong says, know it’s Catiline, not Cataline. 

The famous speech of Cicero, Ong points out, exposing the corrupt practices of the politician Catiline, begins with "Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? (How long, O Catiline, will you abuse our patience?)" (Italics ours). Here we can see, Ong proposes, that "How long" evolved into "How many days."

Ong, an Atenean and former assistant professor of the Academics Group of PMA, can’t possibly be wrong on this. But we think we know what another Atenean, former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada, would say. Pare- pareho lang  iyan, pare ko. [10]. 


Larry  “Lar” Leviste noticed and wrote about WTW “complete with footnotes.” 

If that’s what makes WTW complete, we’ll keep doing it.

But in the interest of complete reporting, we have to mention he also called us “rabble rouser.” 

We wonder what he meant.


Aquino Administration Watch [11].  We continue what we began several WTW issues ago – our countdown of how long the present administration has been in office, using “How Many Days Oh Noble Cataline?” a plebe knowledge [12]. 

Sir, 35 days, 840 hours, 50,400 minutes, 3,024,000 seconds and 6,048,000 ticks have passed since Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III assumed office as President of the Philippines. 



dateline: foster city, california 

@arf-arf ‘64

wtw 2010-11

volume 064



[1]  A community of global citizens, an international civic organization established in 2007 that promotes activism on issues such as climate change, human rights, and religious conflicts

[2]  Kapihan translates to Coffee Place but in the context of this occasion, this Kapihan, as practiced in the Philippines, was a social gathering to discuss various subjects,  literally over a cup or cups of coffee

[3]  1-United Transport Koalisyon

[4]  2010-07-28 WTW/”SONA….. Sana”

[5]  Emphasis ours. DJLF scholars refer to the scholars supported by DJLF Foundation through LEAP, the Loakan Educational Assistance Project, that supports the college education of high school graduates chosen yearly, four from the Baguio City National High School, Fort del Pilar Annex and one chosen from other high schools in the Philippines. New ECC President Harold Ochoco is a member of the DJLF Board of Directors and VP for CCQ, Coordination, Communication and Quality Control

[6]  2009-09-16 WTW/”Gibo, According to Gibo”

[7]  Ochoco’s speech, in its entirety:

Magandang gabi po sa inyong lahat, 

 Ako po ay nagagalak, at natutuwa sapagkat ako ay naliligayahan. Kaya naman ako ay masayang-masaya.

Maraming salamat sa pag-halal ninyo sa akin bilang pangulo ng PMA East Coast USA Chapter.  Salamat din sa ating hosts ngayon gabi, Cav MJ & Ma’am Bernie De Leon. Pinasasalamatan ko din si Cav Dan & Marilou Jimenez sa kanilang offer na mag host din ng eleksiyon noong isang buwan.  Sa wakas, natuloy din ang ating pag halal ng mga pinuno, ito ay dahil sa inyong pagtangkilik at walang hanggang suporta sa ating grupo.

 Today marks an important milestone in my life.  When I was a child, I told myself that one day, I will be the president of the Philippines. Well, I believe that this is close enough!  It took me a while to even accept the nomination.  I always tell those who asked me to take the helm that I have no time and I have no desire to lead.  Then one day, while preparing to go to work, I saw myself in front of the mirror, and I asked myself, “Are you sure you cannot take the challenge?  Are you a failure to run from responsibilities?  What happened to your motto of Courage, Integrity & Loyalty?”  I was taken aback, and with defiance stared at the mirror again and saw someone who looked “Presidentiable.”  I told myself that the people who encouraged me to run have a point! I then reconsidered my stance, accepted the nomination, and the rest is history.  

Such episode confirms one thing: that having gone through the portals of the Academy as plebes, we love challenges. We never run away from responsibilities, and we are happy to “take life”.  Our mantra is “hindi  masarap, kung hindi mahirap”!

 At this point, let me outline my vision and roadmap for the Chapter.

 I would like to encourage Peemayers in our area to engage and be active in our activities such as this one. I will not discriminate, regardless of your creed, political affiliation, color, or sexual orientation!

 We will pursue an aggressive outreach campaign and to communicate with our members and their families.  We will reach out our hands and open our ears to listen and to hear ideas on how we can help each other.  I hope to see that one day, we will have more members to show up in our fellowship and gatherings not because they are forced to, but because they feel happy to be in our company.

 I plan to continue our usual yearly activities: The Christmas Hop and the Dual Meet.  We used to have gatherings and fellowship with visiting Cavaliers.  I remember Sir Dan Jimenez hosted a lot of those.  We also had picnics and maybe we can plan to pursue such events once again.

I believe that the East Coast USA Chapter is a social club.  As such, we are bound together by virtue of our experience as graduates or former cadets of PMA.  We enjoy to reminisce our past, share our experience, and we never get tired of relating the same stories every time we had a chance to “bolahize”.  

I enjoin everyone to be active and participate in our activities.  I’m sure everyone cherishes each other’s company.  Nasubukan mo na bang walang kausap?  Ako rin.  Nasubukan mo na bang kinaya ng underclass?  Ako rin.  Nasubukan mo na bang shinabby ng upperclass?  Ako rin!  We all share and cherish a common tradition! 

We should all strive to be active and help each other.  We should take advantage of technology by using social networking tools in our communications campaign and provide the forum for members to communicate with each other.  It is my desire to help our fellow Cavaliers who are engaged in business by advertising or promoting their products or services.  We will ask our members to endorse them to their families, relatives and other social network.  I know that Cav Berong Oliveros is an electrician who recently setup his business.  I can just assume that he is either good in EE or enjoyed being electrocuted while he was a plebe!  Gaby Riego de Dios is a good artist.  One of his collections is the “PMA Series”.  One of his work, “Strong Hearts” is displayed at the Academy.   Perci Abu has a tax business.  Feel free to refer your friends to him.  And if you think you are going crazy, please contact Sir Dan Jimenez to schedule an appointment with Ma’am Marilou who is a psychiatrist.

(We) the new officers of the association promise to take our role seriously and to lead without fanfare. In Tagalog, gagawin namin ang aming trabaho na walang wang-wang!  

Leading the association is like a train ride.  People come and go.  Some will have a short ride, get off and we never see them again.  Others ride with us on a long journey.  The new set of officers will do whatever we can to make your journey with us to be comfortable and memorable to everyone.  This is because, “kayo ang Boss namin!”  No matter what happens, rest assured that  we won’t take you in for a ride.

Before I end, I would like to extend my wife’s apology for not being able to attend this evening.  She wished me luck and with guarded optimism she told me, “O nag-iisa ka na lang kandidato sa pagka-presidente, baka matalo ka pa!”  (You are the long candidate for president, you might still lose?) With the news that I have been elected, I’m sure that she is excited and looking forward to our “midnight appointment” when I come home tonight!

Again, thank you for being here this evening!

[8] Wife Conceja – Concy, to family and friends – died on March 25, 2008, exactly a week after this writer’s wife, Pilar, died

[9] Inang Bayan Pilipinas/Mother Philippines

[10] That’s all the same, my friend

[11] A segment of WTW is dedicated to a commentary on events and issues involving the administration of Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III who took office on June 30, 2010 which coincidentally was a Wednesday, the same day that we post Witful Thinking, Wednesday.

[12] 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 of the number of days POTP Aquino has been in office – 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