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Winston “Arf-Arf” Arpon
PMA ‘64


Ping-Pong Democracy;
Leakers, Lickers, Lookers

The brother of my friend saw a photo of her sister and me and his remark was, “He’s a shade taller.”

He was just being kind to me and to his sister. He could have said I was a shade darker, or, several shades darker.


Cavalier Nestor Lim ’60 assured me I will “love the allure of the Bay area.”

“I cannot forget my first time in San Francisco in 1966,” he writes. “For some reason, I just fell in love with it.”

I love San Francisco too, sir. But for another reason. If I were writing this in Manila, Makati or Maryland, this column would already be late, as we speak. Writing from San Francisco, I still have a couple of hours to spare.


The title of this issue could have been ‘Witful Thinking, Bittersweet Wednesday.’

This day last week, March 18, was the first anniversary of the passing of a dearly beloved – WIFE – my Woman, Inspiration, Friend and Everything (see 03-09-18 WTW/Joe Guevara and Conrado de Quiros, Move Over). Today, March 25, is the birthday of my friend. And March 21, exactly midway between March 18 and March 25, was the first day of spring.

Ang buhay nga naman, parang life…..


64 days into the administration of Barack Obama, there appears to be very little love lost between the President and former Vice President Dick Cheney.

On Monday, the Obama administration, responded to criticism from Cheney that Obama “is making some choices (that) raise the risk to the American people of another attack." White House spokesman Robert Gibbs used his daily briefing to ridicule Cheney, chiding him as the “most popular member of the Republican cabal," next to Rush Limbaugh, talk-show host and critic of the administration.

Expect both parties to be in attack mode. Expect Cheney to stick to his guns, defending his advice and actions during the 8 years of the Bush administration, especially on national security matters. On the other hand, as the Obama administration continues to roll back the security apparatuses of the Bush years considered by many to be Cheney’s handiwork, expect Obama and his administration to continue exposing the mistakes of Cheney.

Expect a succession of exposes on other cheney-nigans, I mean, shenanigans.


Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said GMA has been ordering government agencies to "do everything in a very transparent manner."

A transparent order, we assume to FGMA, a civilian.


The Office of Cadet Admission of the Philippine Military Academy will be accepting 191 young men and women that will compose the members of PMA Class 2013.  

For these 191, there can be no turning back. Not with an Abante as the first one on the list! Marco y de Roxas Abante.

171 are males, 20 females. All the females come from either Luzon or Mindanao.


Who said nobody hears and counts the Silent Majority? Pulse Asia just did. 

In its recent Ulat ng Bayan survey, Pulse Asia revealed that a big majority (81 percent) of those who have personally witnessed any instance of corruption decided to keep silent – an act resorted to by 59 percent to 91 percent across geographic areas and socio-economic classes.


Like other concerned PMAyers, Cavalier Fiorello “Bang” Adriano ’70 read the disconcerting findings on the state of the PMA cadet barracks (Ramon J. Farolan, Reveille, Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 23), prompting this suggestion: “Should PMA move out of Baguio City? Say, to Corregidor…..”

No, Bang, you don’t want to go there – sound this retreat from Baguio to Corregidor. The retreat of General Jonathan Wainwright to and subsequent surrender at Corregidor will suffice for Philippine history; we don’t need another one. Certainly, not PMA.

But if such a move is deemed unavoidable – we know how patiently persuasive and persistent  this PMAAAI Director can be – why not choose a place associated with AMP, Academia Militar de Pilipinas, supposedly the precursor of today’s PMA. But where was it again?


Item.   Representative Mikey Arroyo says charter change through con-ass still alive.

How do we kill this ass? No, we don’t mean Mike Arroyo, but Con-Ass, the Constitutional Assembly.

But once again, we say, where is Cavalier Jose “Joe” Almonte ’56 when you need him? (see 09-02-04 WTW/One to Tango, Two to Cha-Cha).


And then there’s a capsule of current events about PMA alumni (or is it a capsule of PMA alumni about current events?) – courtesy of the PlebesaNdCavaliers mailgoup,  the pen of Cavalier Danilo “Dan” Jimenez ’77 and encouragement of Cavalier Agapito “Peythong” Heredia ’70 ,“ PnC’s Administrator. 

In his reporting, Dan holds no punches, spares no prisoners. Pure, unadulterated reporting: no spin, no dissembling. The piece, titled “PMAyers in the News,” could very well be “PMAyers in the Nude,” as its subjects, especially the controversial ones, are exposed, and practically laid bare to its readers.


Cavalier Panfilo “Ping” Lacson ’71 finds himself in the epicenter of controversy, this time on the Dacer-Corbito killing redux.  He’s been here before, hasn’t he? So what else is new?


Political football? No, it’s more like political ping-pong. At one end, Ping; on the other, Pong, I mean Cavalier Cezar Mancao ’86. 


Meanwhile, we contend with the dizzying, seemingly endless exchanges not only between the principals, but also among many others: the leakers – the ones that provide for the public’s feeding frenzy for any information; the lickers – the ones whose actions and/or protestations betray self-serving motives; the lookers – all others who are neither leakers nor lickers, but otherwise involved or plainly interested how this plays out.

Call it ping-pong democracy or by any other name. In the end, we only care that it works to ferret out the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 

But will it?


The commandant of the PCG, Wilfredo Tamayo, has been promoted to the rank of Admiral, a promotion that his boss, DOTC Secretary Leandro Mendoza said was long overdue, and, “will boost Tamayo’s stature as he represents the agency and the Philippine government in international meetings.” That’s the good news.

But there may be bad news. As Cavalier Proscoro Ervin “Bruce” Mundo ‘96, puts it, PCG “remains in limbo.” Legislators filed but did not act on bills restructuring the PCG; three bills, in fact: transfer to the Department of National Defense – Senator Biazon; a separate and distinct commissioned service under DOTC – Senator Escudero; and a Department of Maritime AffairsTrillanes – Senator Trillanes.

Evidently, the coast is not clear for the Philippine Coast Guard.


WTW may have joined the glitzy world of entertainment, if we are to believe Cavalier Rosauro “Ross” Sibal ’67. He wrote, “Thanks for entertaining us with your weekly column.” (Emphasis ours).


Feedback from Cavalier Victor “Vic” Erfe ’69 to a previous issue (09-03-11 WTW/Pitong (not Peyton) Place), came too late – and too long – for us to acknowledge it in time.  He was disconnected – and incensed – when viewing his emails, including WTW. “It was a good thing that when I finally got connected again, the first item in my inbox was Witful Thinking, Wednesday. I’m not sure what would have happened if Witful wasn’t there; I was thinking of blowing up the PLDT offices in Makati.”


Last week, we wrote:   Alberto de Quiros – may he continue to be alive and kicking, literally and figuratively – is my favorite now.  I can’t put down the Philippine Daily Inquirer until I have read and have had my fill of his acerbic column, “There’s the Rub.”

Thank you, Cavaliers Carlos “Chuck” Agustin ’59 and Romeo “Fards” Fajardo x93 (he says he reads Quiros too, Monday through Thursday). Yes, sirs, I meant Conrado, not Alberto de Quiros. Then again, what is WTW without a typo here and a typo there?


For better or for worse, we continue to hear about the Kissing Rock and its derivative, the Guava Grove – the center-"piece" of two past issues of Witful Thinking, Wednesday ( – 09-02-25 WTW/ But Where is the Kissing Rock?  and 09-03-04 WTW, Kissing Rock – Lost and Found?)

"For those old enough to remember Al Capp's Li'l Abner,” Cavalier Jose “Joe” Dado ’55 writes, “there war (sic) a Kissing Rock in Dogpatch, Li'l Abner's village. The tradition was that if a boy fails to kiss a girl when they pass under the Kissing Rock. it will crumble down. Maybe that was what happened."

It is interesting to know that Lil Abner and Dogpatch may be linked with our Kissing Rock traditions. We think this is cool. Cooler than the Baguio of today.

The bottom line: we may not have heard the last of Kissing Rock, fact or fiction.


Mona Lisa Dasbach, a good friend and WTW reader – not necessarily in that order –   wanted to know where I was and writing from: Golden Gate or Victoria Peak.

I know I told her before I left Maryland that I would be in San Francisco. But how did she know about Victoria?


@arf-arf ’64
wtw 09-12    
san francisco, california