Witful Thinking, Wednesday
Winston “Arf-Arf” Arpon
Yes, boys and girls, today is the last day of Week I of AWS. Arroyo Withdrawal Syndrome or Aquino Welcome Syndrome; or both.
One week down, 311 more to go.
We wish all the best to the Dalai Lama, joining 5,000 of his followers who celebrated the 75th birthday the other day of the revered religious leader, still on exile, forbidden to return to his home country, Tibet.
The best pound-for-pound fighter of the world, Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, who was successful this time in his bid for a congressional seat in Sarangani province, Philippines has changed. Within one year, he has changed from one party to another – Kampi to Nacionalista to Liberal; from one President to another – Arroyo to Villar to Aquino.
At this rate, Pacquiao is on track to set another world record: seven party changes to match his unprecedented record of world boxing championships in seven divisions.
POTP  has been likened to his counterpart across the miles, POTUS  Obama, as the symbol of hope for his people.
From Hope to Nope – we remember this as Newsweek's cartoon on the first year of POTUS Obama's Presidency. So, beware, POTP Aquino.
Liberal Party congressman Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte says that House Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will get her share of pork.
Come again, Presumptive Speaker Belmonte, but hasn't GMA gotten more than her share already?
“Man-for-man,” economist and columnist Benjamin Diokno has written , “Aquino’s Cabinet is better than Arroyo’s,” citing among other reasons “the absence of generals in the lineup.”
Excuse us, sir; but how about the Secretary of National Defense?
Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, according to Diokno, belongs to "a different breed of generals, one who is highly regarded within the military and has seamlessly assumed a diplomatic position in his other life.”
One recommendation of the Feliciano commission set up in 2007 to look into the so-called “Oakwood Mutiny” was for a civilian to head DND.
Why? We sought out a member of that Commission and got this response: To impart a civilian taste to the heavy flavor of military thinking? As I recall it was Carolina Hernandez who pushed the idea. To (at least) control the old boy network in the military, which allows coup ideas to percolate almost unhampered.
Does General Gazmin, as he did a couple of days ago, have to explain his appointment as SND? We do not think so.
Conversely, is there a need to impart a military taste to the heavy flavor of civilian thinking in the other departments? We do not think so either.
“Talk the talk” and “Walk the talk” was the talk among the official family and strong supporters of POTP Aquino, from here and abroad, following the president’s inauguration. “Walk the Talk,” in fact, was the catchphrase on the programme for the conference of the Overseas Filipinos for Good Governance.
“Talk the walk” may now be the latest catchphrase, with POTP Aquino himself disclosing a plan for members of his Cabinet will undergo a “seminar” on how to handle the media.
Cavalier Carlos “Chuck” Agustin ’59 ended his tour as President of the National Defense College of the Philippines, turning over the reins to the new Assistant Secretary for Personnel of DND aka Cavalier Lamberto Sillona ’71, pending the appointment of a permanent NDCP President.
CLA served for almost 9 years, beating the record of a predecessor, General Jose Syjuco, Jr., by about one year, but short of the record of another President who, like Agustin, ended her tour of duty June 30.
Both Presidents, GMA and CLA, have since taken on other jobs; the former, in the Philippine Congress and the latter, in the private sector.
Knowing CLA from years of working with and for him in our other life, we were not surprised one bit that he has chosen not to ride into the sunset, as most retirees, including us, have done. We always knew that CLA will find one way or another to keep the sun from setting on him.
Agustin’s immediate boss, Norberto Gonzales, the outgoing Secretary of National Defense, sounded reassuring in his speech during a testimonial by the Navy and the Army when he said that President-elect Benigno Aquino and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines has nothing to worry about because the soldiers will obey him.
However, he may have overstated his case, when he went farther, evidently for the purpose of greater emphasis, to say that these same soldiers would follow even a “dog.” .
He may just have made the mistake barking at the wrong dog, we mean, tree. Since making this statement a week ago, Gonzales has been dogged by an outcry of criticisms from the military that consider his “dog” remark an insult to the sense of judgment and the intelligence of the men in uniform. Based on the still growing thread of emails in e-forums to which we are privy, we think the dog days of Gonzales aren’t about to end, despite his departure from the military scene.
Don’t let the title of her column, “Kris-Crossing Mindanao,” fool you. Columnist Noralyn Mustafa, a prolific writer since she graduated with a journalism degree from the University of the Philippines, confines her thoughtful commentary neither to krises nor Mindanao alone. She writes about anything and everything. In retrospect, we think this is one reason that our book, “Laughter in the South/Footnotes to the Southern Philippines Conflict,” contained an acknowledgement of “her critical review of the first manuscript of the book that jolted me into improving it.” That was 31 years ago.
In her latest column  Mustafa has a rather unflattering commentary on Mar Roxas, a surprise to us, because it hardly fit what we had just written. We have called her attention to this hoping that she would read what we have written here.
He came on time and connected with the crowd even before he stood to speak as guest of honor on the opening of the first conference of the Overseas Filipinos for Good Governance on July 1, 2010 at the Sofitel Hotel in Manila.
Speaking fluently in English and Tagalog, the graduate of the Wharton School of Economics must have surprised many, including us, that neither his demeanor nor his speech betrayed any ill feelings or bitterness on his narrow loss in the last election.
The previous day was his last as Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, Senator of the Philippines. On this day, he came with one credential, “alter ego” of the President. To the admiration and applause of his audience, he said, “Ako po ay isang pribadong mamamayan kagaya ninyo" 
A few hours later, only blocks away, Jejomar Binay, the man who beat Mar Roxas in the vice-presidential race, was reminding everyone: "I'm the No. 2 man in the executive department."
His office at the PNB Building he described to the media as “wanting in yabang."
Yabang translates to swagger. So we do not think of this as a problem at all. Vice-President Binay’s well-known swagger can compensate for his office’s lack of it.
Kung walang wang-wang, walang mayabang. 
Loosely translated, this means, no sirens; no arrogance. We can only hope the Vice-President is listening.
We wondered if there was any rhyme or reason for several posters on Roxas Boulevard, along the route to the Quirino grandstand that read, thusly:
The suspicions that Aquino supporters dropped running mate Mar Roxas during the last days of the campaign were raised after the elections, so we think there was no reason for the Aquino camp to put up those posters and rekindle those suspicions.
But there’s a rhyme: Mabuhay V-nay.
Now, who do you think put up those posters?
A full week after the presidential inauguration, the debate continues whether or not Jejomar Binay committed a breach of protocol by arriving after Noynoy Aquino.
Binay has insisted that there was no breach. We agree, but only if he were thinking of Noynoy Aquino not as the incoming President but as the incoming Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, a position that he, Binay, had coveted but which Noynoy decided to keep until he could find someone, not Binay, as permanent Secretary.
To the ‘high five’ as our gesture of celebrating the inauguration of the new Philippine president in last week’s issue , Cavalier Danilo “DanMel&Jim” Jimenez ’77 had this to say:
“What about 2 high fives? Shouldn't the people see that the other hand hides nothing? Pardon the incorrigibility of my cynicism. (I) can't help it.”
He called it the ‘pentagon phenomenon,’ referring evidently to the uncanny association of the number 5 with Noynoy we mentioned in last week’s WTW, notably the 15th President of the country, the 5th President of the 5th Philippine Republic, among several other associations. Is this a good omen for the country? Answering his own question, Cavalier Jesus “Jake” Duller ’69 said, he’d “like to believe so.” And we do too.
According to the National Capital Regional Police Office, the people that attended the inauguration ceremony at the Quirino grandstand numbered 500,000.
Could it have been 555,555?
According to DFA, on the other hand, the foreign dignitaries numbered 100.
Are they sure it wasn’t 155?
He considered our last issue “an excellent column, particularly on the significance of the number 5.”
Coming from a member of PMA Class ’55, Cavalier Jose “Joe” Dado, this came as no surprise to us. We would have wished that he did; but no, sir, he did not say the issue rated five stars.
“Like a 5-pointed star,” Cavalier Leopoldo “Pol” Aliac ’67 proposed, “His Excellency President Aquino's star must radiate to illuminate our journey to its desired destiny.”
Yes, Juan “Jeepy” Perez, the thought of a chuckle or two – make that five – from my favorite columnist Jose P. Guevara up there somewhere – helps to keep us going. It also helps to receive, as we did last week “many thanks (and) cheers from Portland,” in an email from Joe Guevara’s only daughter, Cynthia Guevara-Gale.
"If this President,” we wrote in that issue, “for whatever reason, should deviate, or worse, depart from and abandon his promise of good governance, we will be vocal and we will let him know before it becomes too late for him to do something about it."
Cavalier Enrico “Tebot” Teves ’72 took exception to this, saying, “Don't know how you would feel if you were in (sic) the receiving end of this…..I imagine it would turn people off.”
Cavalier, we know exactly how we would feel: forewarned and forearmed, and turned on, not off.
A penny for our thoughts?
No, it’s a peso for our text.
If you can’t understand this, Bj, we think you (and others like you) have been away and stayed away from IBP  for too long, we think you should seriously consider the idea of coming “home” to visit.
 President of the Philippines
 President of the United States
 “Rebuilding institutions,” Core, BusinessWorld, July 1, 2010
 His exact quote, in Taglish, a mix of English and Tagalog: They will follow the chain of command. They will obey lawful orders kahit sino pa ang umupo diyan, kahit aso, kapag iyan ang piniling mamumuno sa ating sambayanan susunod ang ating (whoever sits in power, even a dog, if he was chosen to lead the nation, will be followed by the) Armed Forces
 “Fixated on Roxas,” Philippines Daily Inquirer, July 5, 2010
 I am just an ordinary citizen like you
 Our thanks to Cavalier Harold Ochoco ’81 for coining this clause, an appropriate segue to “Kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap”
 Long Live P-Noy V-nay. P-Noy, for President Aquino and V-Nay, for Vice-President Binay
 In 2010-06-30 WTW/”A High Five,” we wrote: So, when he raises his hand to take his solemn oath of the highest office of the land before Supreme Court Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales today at high noon, it is high time for us to give a big, big hand – no, make that a high five – to the man whose name bears five: Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III. It’s the name that bears watching from here on
 Inang Bayan Pilipinas, our acronym of choice for Mother Philippines,
Witful Thinking, Wednesday