Wednesday, March 30, 2011

DOJ: Man-hunt out for group responsible for placing assets under Gen Ligot's name

30 MARCH 2011.  Manila, Philippines.  Former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Comptroller, Jacinto Ligot, said in a statement issued yesterday that he and his wife is requesting the National Bureau of Investigations (NBI) to form a special task force to identify the person or persons responsible for placing spurious assets under the ex-General's name.  "I do not remember having houses in the US, nor bank account in the millions.  Obviously, this is the work of persons unknown, and with the help of the NBI, their nefarious activities will come to an end," Ligot said.

The embattled General, along with other former AFP officials, have been subject of Senate inquiry on corruption in the AFP following the accusations said by whistle-blower Colonel Goerge Rabusa, who was a former military budget officer.  During the hearings of the Senate Blue Ribbon committee, Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada presented various properties in California which were purportedly under the name of the General's wife, Mrs Erlinda Ligot.  The general denied knowledge of the assets in question.

The Department of Justice, said in a statement presented to the press, that they will comply with the general's request and has already formed a task force to track down the group responsible for placing assets under the names of the general and his wife.  "We must, in all haste, find out the identities of these persons and bring them to justice.  They have already done much damage to the general, and it has got to stop," the statement said.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Growing up, my father taught me how to play chess. Nothing formal though; I still can't distinguish Kasparov from Tchaikovsky; but the basics were given clear.  Every piece has its unique move, every character, its strengths and limitations.

I may not know the various openings named after the masters but I do know well enough that the game is that of strategy.  To ensure your win, you must always be five steps ahead of your opponent.  You must anticipate every move and be ready for your counter move.  You should be able to weigh the value of every piece and move it about on the board.

And you should be willing to sacrifice a royal if it means getting ahead in the exchange.

It was one of the few activities that my brother, dad and I have bonded with.  One of my many frustrations was I could never beat them in three out of five games.  And I have this suspicion that they sometimes let me win on purpose.

We loved the game so much, we were able to run through a number of chessboards that seem to mysteriously vanish after a while.  Our fondest set was a Simpsons-inspired set, with Bart as pawn; Lisa as bishop; Maggie, the knight (she has a toy horse as steed, the cutie); and Homer, Marge and Grandpa as king, queen and rook respectively.  My brother and I pooled our allowances just to get that set; we took care not to scratch the pieces; we even preserved the box it came with.  But out efforts came to naught when our little sister used the pieces (they were made of rubber) as chew toys, and threw the rest every which way.  I really miss that game board.  

Once, during my free period, when I was a freshman in high school, I came to watch our chess varsity play in one of their practices.  One of them invited me to play and I accepted.  I opted for an aggressive match and soon, I had him on the defensive.  It was only through my carelessness (and a little help from his mates) that I lost the game.  I enjoyed the game, but the invitation for me to join the varsity was at best, only lip service, so I stopped hanging out at their place.  It did teach me the value of a great defensive strategy.

Nowadays, it's very rare that I encounter someone who plays the sport.  It's as if everyone has contracted attention deficit disorder, that the time it takes to play the game is a few minutes too long for them to endure.  Which is a pity, because as board games go, chess is still the most fulfilling of the lot.

I no longer have anyone to play with, but I don't think I stopped playing.  Anticipate the opponent, and always be a few steps ahead of the game, that is what the game has taught me; and while on the offensive, always have a piece or two protecting your attackers.  I have been accused of being distant and calculating, and it's probably correct - I'm playing chess, it seems.  Even now, I'm still playing, and my earlier defeats have made me stand on the defensive, waiting for the other's attack before I make my move.

And faced with an equally defensive opponent, this game is getting longer and longer to resolve.  I have been tracing back the moves made by each side, and I believe I see a pattern.  We are down to our last few moves, I believe, and it promises to boil down to one outcome:  Stalemate.

Friday, March 25, 2011


We had a meeting yesterday.  It started 9.30am and by 2pm, we weren't even finished.  It was agreed, though, that we would have a break, but reconvene for the meeting by 3pm.  Lunch, therefore, had to be really quick.  I wasn't afforded my ample me-time and it blows.

By 3.30, we were back to the meeting, discussing the various issues and deficiencies that need to be addressed for the year-end closing.  We finished a few minutes past 7pm.

After that whole day of meeting, I no longer had the energy to even look at my computer.  I merely turned it off and promptly left the office.  Who cares if, during the meeting, I'm ticking off one task after another that I need to perform; I was drained.  I needed a change of venue.

I needed to perk up after that ordeal.  And what better way to do so than to eat.

Introducing TOSH: Express' Carbo-overload meal.  Shepherd's Pie, rice and pasta alfredo, and an iced tea for an additional 10 pesos.  The whole gamut of carbs in the food pyramid:  wheat, maize, potato, grains.

After finishing the whole plate, I was back to my normal, cheery self.

Good eats!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Deja vu

I accompanied a friend to Cavite one Saturday to visit another friend whose ward passed on, and to offer support and condolences.  It was a lazy day, and though we planed on going early, it was already late afternoon when we got there.  It was no easy feat getting there, what with the distance involved and the number of towns you have to pass through.  It was such a favor then that there were minimal traffic at the time.

We spent a considerable amount of time there, just eating and hanging out, and a bit of touring on the side.  And it wasn't until way past midnight when we decided to leave.  Unfortunately, the buses don't start their service until 2am, so we decided to wait a couple more hours.

Going to the bus station was a bit of a walk, but the night was comfortably cold and there weren't too many vehicles running about, so it was alright.  At first sight of the station, I felt a sudden loss of balance.  "I've been here before," I murmured to myself.  Chance, whom I accompanied there was looking for the restroom, and almost automatically, I pointed to where it is.  Or where it should be located.  And I was right.

The sense of deja vu was palpable, and I was reeling, trying to remember when I had been here before.  There were a few changes, of course, from the height of the seats, and the mini-store set up up front, but the rest of the area, the permanent structures at least, was where I remember -- or thought I remember -- it was.

Now, I've been a bit of a wanderlust ever since, but I cannot, for the life of me, remember going to that part of Cavite City.  Sure, I've been to the city with my mom and siblings, but it was a different part of the city we always visited then.  I do not remember officemates who are from that parts as well; most of them were from north of Manila.

I do remember some college friends who were from Cavite, but Bacoor and Tanza were very far from where we were at the moment.  I remember commuting to Island Cove to and fro before, but it wouldn't justify going to Cavite City just for the bus homeward, as the bus would pass the resort after all.  

For the life of me, I still couldn't remember when, how and why I have been to that bus station before, and it boggles the mind trying to recall.  So maybe for now, I'll just put it on my folder of unexplained occurrences.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Little Pick-Me-Up

Sometimes, when you're particularly down, the universe decides to give you a pick-me-up; give you some answer to your needs.  I've been needing an ego-boost for some time and I got it.  But not in a way I particularly wanted.

After a slow Friday night, Chase and I decided to just call it in early, for a change.  My friend just got a snub from the first taxi we just hailed when a dark car stopped in front of us.  From the open passenger window, a middle-aged chinito asked us where we would be heading, and was offering to drive us there.  Good Samaritan, maybe, but the manner of his offer sent a different message to us.

We were being picked up.

Right in front of the mall, just a few meters from the entrance ramp to the parking -- a middle-aged man was trying to pick my friend and I up.

At first, I thought he was merely asking for directions, but when I realized what he was offering, I moved away from his vantage point.  I couldn't stop laughing!  I couldn't help it; it was happening right in my backyard (the mall, I mean) and because the guy was trying to make the moves on the TWO of us.
Right after that incident, we couldn't just go home; we were too flabbergasted, we needed coffee to calm us down.

I am quite aware that these these things happen.  Just last October, something of the sort did happen, but the driver merely rolled his window down and nodded to me to come hither.  I just bowed my head down and continued walking.  What made this encounter different was the forward attitude of the ... ummm...  picker... and that he was trying to do a two-for-one deal.

Composing ourselves after that ordeal, we decided to finally call it a night; we've had excitement one too many already.  Given that it was later in the night, we had an easier time getting a cab.  I hitched a ride going to Makati Avenue.  From there, it would be easier getting home.  But the ride was quite short, and I still had more adrenaline to burn, so I decided to walk the remainder of the way, instead of riding the jeep.

I am very fond of walking along JP Rizal; during the few times that I decided to walk the Panata on Holy Thursday, that stretch of street going to Edsa is one of the easiest to traverse, thanks to the sidewalks.  But the street has, for some time, accumulated a bit of a bad rep for being, well, a pick-up spot.  And no sooner than a few minutes of walking did I notice an SUV on the opposite side of the road, with windows down, and its lone passenger, giving me the eye.  Once more, my usual tactics was in order:  ignore, look away, and move along.

It was smooth sailing after that, until midway my trek, when nearing the Municipal Office, I glanced to my right and lo and behold! the same SUV is rolling slowly along the street and the driver is once more looking at my direction.  I quickened my pace and looked straight ahead, lest he think I'm toying with any ideas.  Thankfully, he sped away after a few minutes.  The rest of the walk going home was peaceful after that affair, thank the heavens.

Things like that doesn't always happen, and for that, I am grateful.  But I have to admit that it does perk up one's ego to know that somehow, someone still finds you palatable. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Errant Thoughts on a Workday

I hate the feeling of not being able to concentrate.  And right now, it seems I'm always bisected.  I can't focus.  There are so many errant thoughts crowding my mind and competing for attention.  I don't want to wallow in these thoughts because I know it can only lead me to depression.

I have always tried to compartmentalize everything in my life.  The more delineated the partitions made, the more organized and secure I feel - and the more impervious to hurt.  Lately, I've loosened these boundaries and it felt good to do so.  Unfortunately, once these dams have been opened, it is hard to keep them shut.  Now my distractions are aggravated by the mingling of emotions.  To make matters worse, my feelings for some persons are slowly getting mixed up, that I don't know what I feel about either.  It could also be that my displaced feeling for one is fueling my affection for another.  I don't know.  I don't trust myself with this.

It's odd though, that now when I'm feeling out of sorts and distracted, my boss compliments me on my put-together attitude.  Talk about seeming cool, calm and collected, when my insides are churning fit to burst with these oft-ignored emotions.

Odd though, that it would take an earthquake to lift my spirits up.  Nothing like a dose of Mother Nature's powers to ignite the fire in one's soul.  

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hold Up

Ever since I can remember, I have disliked taxis.  I have this long-standing notion of taxis, and their drivers, being highway robbers, robbing commuters blind of their money.  This is especially true during the Christmas season, when these demons grow unusually long horns.  Why, most of them even have the temerity to tip themselves from your change even before you decide to do so!

This is why I have always opted for public transport whenever possible.  Public utility vehicles, after all, take you to your desired locations, if you know the route.  They are cheaper as well, albeit less convenient.  And economy gets more importance than convenience in my books.

But there are times though, when economy takes a back seat and the ease of the taxi becomes invaluable.  Last Friday was one of those days.

I was running late and my destination was far from my regular routes.  I knew I had to swallow my pride and ride a taxi.  And it was just my luck that the one time I needed one, there weren't any vacant cabs to be had. There is this ridiculous abundance of these little buggers whenever I don't need it, oftentimes, when I'm waiting for a jeepney, a couple of of these cars would stop in front of me, hoping I would ride.  And the one day I needed one, there were none!  Nada.  Zero.  Caput.

I hopped from one location to the next, each time riding the taxi to my locales.  And it's just happy coincidence that the three taxis i rode all were calibrated with the new meters.

Yes, that's 40 pesos flag-down and 3.50 every few hundred meters.  If I weren't so busy, I would've taken longer to recover from the feeling of being robbed.  And it does sting, being held up like that.  My wallet took it really hard.

Of the three I rode, only one was kind enough to issue me my receipt; and I had to ask for it to be printed.  The other two didn't even have tape receipts for which to print the proof of my purchase.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I Lost My Phone

I lost my phone last night.  I only had it for six months. 

I was drunk; I was careless; and I didn't really care.  The moment I realized I lost the phone, it took me two minutes to get over the fact and resume drinking and dancing.

I am, of course, sad that I lost it, particularly with the loss of numbers and photos and messages stored therein.  But I have gone past any compulsion to grieve over lost things, unlike before when my phones were almost surgically attached to my hand that losing it causes actual physical pain.

Suffering a love-hate relationship with the phone also helps in shortening the grieving process.  I'm also more concerned over the inconveniences the loss is causing compared to the loss itself.  I have requested for a replacement sim and am using my spare -- and that is the easy part.  Rebuilding my lost contacts, now, that would be the hard part.

And such is the reason for this post.  I have the same number, so if you're up for reconnecting, message me with your name, so I can save your number.  Yeah, posting this is easier than asking everybody I know for everybody else's number.  I know, I'm lazy like that.  ;-)


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