Separated at Birth, Part 30: The Forehead Triplets

These chicks could be long lost sisters….










Last na talaga…



Who are these “forehead” vixens..?


Filipino-Australian Pop singer/Model Jocelyn Oxlade


Miss World 2013 Megan Young.


American pornstar Dillion Harper.

Go to Business, Commie!


It seems extraordinary that the communist insurgency in the Philippines has survived the test of time.  Maybe next to North Korea or Cuba, Philippine communists still believe that their century old system  that has long abandoned by hardcore communists like Russia and China, will still work.




Philippine communists -except for their leaders who are exiled comfortably  in first world countries – have long suffered living in unthinkable exisitence.  They have engaged the Philippine military in a cat and mouse battle for  more than 40 decades without any relevant victory.   Legendary leaders like Ka Popoy Lagman and Ka Roger shined and disappeared  but never able to leave any dent on the  stubborn capitalist Philippine society.  The basic battle cries that the communist movement howled for decades remain empty and unresolved causes – genuine land reform, higher wages for workers, justice for the masses.  Now, Philippine communists are left out in the cold- especially when the separatist muslim rebels in the south are now promised power sharing by the Philippine government.

It is rather boring than sickening.  Frustrating than enraging. Pushing the communist cause in the Philippines seemed to have become a lonely cause.

But whether we judge the Philippine communist movement as a spent force, it cannot be denied that they are still a force to recon with. In  2008, the Philippine military estimated the strength of the New People’s Army (NPA) which is the military arm of the Philippine communist movement at   around 4,900 members, significantly down from 26,000 at its peak in the 1980s.   In addition, they claim that the NPAs are still active in 10 of 81 Philippine provinces.


It is not hard to imagine that the remnants of a once-raging revolution are barely surviving.   They are being hunted down by both the military and police forces on a day to day basis.  They scour the hills and mountains for safe havens now that masses seem not to care them (they could be busy solving their own poverty and will only support the NPAs for fear of their lives).  Survival in this situation entails sabre -rattling- meaning they have to impose “revolution taxes” on legitimate business that are plying the NPA-controlled provinces.

Regardless of their current state,  the cause of Philippine communists seems to be  an undying one.  So if they cannot stop being social outsiders, they might as well learn how to be truly self-sustaining and helpful to the Philippine masses.

What if the Philippine communists try going to business for a change?  Why don’t they take advantage of their strong points and go into countryside micro- financing?

Now before you bewail this seemingly outrageous idea, consider these things first:

1.  A major ill of the Philippine farming community is the lack of a genuine pro-farmer  financing program.  Farmers are always placed in the disadvantage as loansharks and big-time traders get the most of the earnings.  Loansharks provide the needed to farmers to buy seedlings, fertilisers, etc.   On the other hand,  big-time traders make a killing by buying the farmer’s produce at the  cheapest rate.  As a result, farmers are left with a small income after paying the loansharks.

2.  Farmer families are not able to acquire farmlands.  Even if they have become agrarian reform beneficiaries, the lack of capital have forced them to sell their farmlands or mortgage it to loansharks at exorbitant interests.  As such, farmers are neck-deep in loans and have to pay for it for the rest of their lives.

3.  The lack of financing constrains farmer families to migrate to the cities where they actually suffer the worst of abuses.  Farmer’s children are forced into abusive labor conditions (if not inhumane work conditions).  As a result, farm lands are abandoned and the Philippine masses are discouraged to farm and would rather go for the high yielding high risk city jobs.

The Philippine communist can very well help in this aspect, without compromising their ideology.  They need to realise that they have these specific advantages:

a.) With the sheer number of potential financing clients estimated at 5 million farmer families in the Philippines, their business will surely prosper.  Imagine if they only charge a minuscule interest, they can still earn a windfall of profits.  Unlike their competitors, they have grassroots organisation that reaches down to the masses.  They can reach farmer families even in the hinterlands.  NPA regulars and sympathisers can be good loan coordinators and collectors.

b.) With their existing armed manpower, loan collection is far better than any collecting agency in the country.  Even the motorcycling Bombays are no match for the AK-47 carrying NPA collector.  What more, if they debtors do not pay, the NPA’s brand of judicial action for collection (“Kangaroo court’) is faster than any summary proceeding in Philippine courts.

c.) And lastly, who do you think will compete with the NPA?  Will the major banking corporations like Metrobank and BPI dare to compete with them?

Now, maybe after the  NPA becomes very successful in this financial business venture, it can finally change its name to National  Puhunan Administration.

Typhoon Proof Philippines







The wrath of Mother Nature is getting worse.  Blame global warming for stronger typhoons like Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).  And mind you these natural disasters (including tsunamis, earthquake and volcanic eruptions) will keep on coming to devastate the Philippines.




During the aftermath of typhoon Haiyan, the Philippine government was exposed as a sitting duck.  It took days before government relief efforts reach the disaster zones.  The usual disaster response was to bring in relief goods – in an effort to spoon feed the victims for days.  In the meantime, victims grew restless and hopeless.  Going back to normal way of life is an every day challenge  as victims have to first recuperate from their bodily injuries then rebuilt their devastated homes.  Most of the time, recuperation and rehabilitation happens in bleak situations – no electricity, no potable water, no medical care and no honest to goodness financial assistance.


The government spent billions in relief and rehabilitation only to realise that their efforts are futile in the long run.  More money is needed to bring back people back on their feet.  And to think that disasters happen several times in a year, the government has to be ready to throw in more money to disaster relief.

images-10 images-11 images-12

The biblical story of the Noah and the flood has given us a practical solution to natural disasters.  If there is a secure structure (or vessel) where man and animals can take refuge during a disaster, chances are their survival rate will be higher.  During the medieval times, kings would construct gargantuan castles where their subjects can take refuge in times of war and strife.  Inside  heavily fortified walls are stockpile of food and water – all to outlast an enemy siege or natural disaster.  This also happened during the Spanish rule in the Philippines when friars constructed heavy duty churches to act as house of God and centre of refuge for the faithful in times of moro attack or natural disasters.  The fortifications of these churches secured those who take refuge therein. Building safe and strong refugee shelters like the castle and Spanish churches of the olden times is more practical in disaster prone countries like the Philippines.  Modern day shelters that can house the public during disasters will reduce deaths and physical injuries.  People will be immediately herded into these shelters when typhoon warnings are raised.  Food, water and medicines would be stockpiled therein way before the disaster strikes.   Surely, they will survive the unsought of natural disasters that most of the time only last for a day or two (in case of typhoon and earthquakes).






It may seem funny but the only buildings that outlasted Typhoon Haiyan were the Tacloban Coliseum and the Iglesia ni Cristo church that were located just beside the sea.  During a similar strong typhoon that devastated Metro Manila, sports coliseums like the Ynares Center in Antipolo stood firm against strong winds. If only the government had constructed more coliseums and the country had more churches like the Iglesia ni Cristo, more people could have taken refuge therein and survived the disaster.

Now, what should the government specifically do if they want to make these shelter viable and practical.

The government should make it a national priority to build more sports coliseums – just like the Ynares Coliseum and the Cuneta Astrodome.  They should make it multi-purpose and typhoon-proof.  They should also make it big enough to accommodate the population of the entire city or district.

What good will this priority project be?  Well…it is actually an “multi-purpose, everybody happy project.”

First, local politicians would be able to immortalise their names by naming these coliseums/storm shelters in their name (just like the Ynares and the Cunetas).  And of course, they will also earn “kick-backs” for constructing these massive structures.

Second,  the populace will surely enjoy the benefits of having venue for their numerous pageants, concerts and basketball tournaments.  The same structures will also be their saviour in times of strife.

Don’t you think it is a win-win solution for all?








The Girl Who Cried Wolf.


“Sámbayanáng Pilipino, patawarin ako sa kasalanang ipinaratang ninyo sa akin. Pilipino, pinatáy ng kapwa Pilipino.” 
(“People of the Philippines, absolve me of the sin which you have charged me. A Filipino was killed by fellow Filipino.)

These were supposedly the last words of condemned rapist Leo Echagaray  before his veins were fried by lethal cocktail of chemicals courtesy of the Republic of the Philippines.  To his very last breath, the convicted rapist swore to his innocence.  It is unthinkable that a person who is just seconds away from meeting his Creator will still maintain a lie – the natural thing to do  is to repent unabashedly and take advantage for a God’s overflowing mercy – just like the lucky thief in the Bible.  But no one seemed to notice this irony (maybe except the Leo’s wife, Zenaida who swore to his husband’s innocence to the very end).  The State and all its resources chose to believe the supposed rape victim “Baby” Echagaray’s version and blocked the possibility of a last minute reprieve.


What happened to Echagaray will likely to happen to any person accused of rape  as long as the law’s bias in favour of the rape victim stands.  In the Philippines, convicting somebody with the crime of rape is relatively an easy task.  It law on evidence gives considerable weight to the rationale that  “the meek Filipina woman, who is full of virtues, will not cry rape and risk  public scandal if such accusation (of rape) is untrue.”  What more, Philippine courts have sustained convictions of rape by the victim’s testimony alone when the same is found trustworthy.



Hubert Webb

But then the Philippine legal system has seen several women who lied through their teeth and caused conviction of the accused.  Remember Jessica Alfaro of the Vizconde Massacre trial.  She singlehandedly brought Hubert Webb and his gang down.  Only to find out several years later that she has made inconsistent statements that even the Philippine Supreme Court considered to be incredible. All the time Webb and his co-accused languished in the worst of jails.


Another example is the infamous Subic rape case involving Suzette “Nichole” Nicolas and boy-faced American serviceman Daniel Smith.  After all the high profile legal hullabaloo which subjected Smith to  unthinkable humiliation and scandal, “Nichole” merely  chose to back out as if nothing happened.  Thereafter, nothing is heard about her as she just vanished into thin air!  Smith, on the other hand,  must have suffered terribly (post-traumatic stress syndrome) because of the controversy.  Without a proper resolution of his rape case, people will continue to doubt him and treat him as an alleged rapist.


This brings us to the hottest item nowadays – the accusation of rape against Vhong Navarro by starlet model Deniece Cornejo.

As the unfolding of events comes to a halt, it is clear as a summer day that the allegations made by Deniece and her knight and shining armour, Cedric Lee have been belied by CCTV footages.  It is most likely that Deniece’s half-baked accusation will boomerang against her and snuff  her rape charges against Vhong.  But then again, the alleged rapist has already suffered national shame.  Vhong has already been damaged physically and psychologically (despite the overflowing support given to Vhong, there still a considerable number of Filipinos who agree that rape – or its attempted form could have happened).  And what if Deneice and Cedric just took time to polish their acts like taking note of the fact that the condominium have CCTVS?  Or if Deneice only  did some good acting and able to entice Vhong to have rough sex with her.  She could easily prove that she was raped by having a bruised vagina, right?  In such a parallel universe, Vhong could never recover and claim that he was set-up.  He is good as hauled to a smelly prison to await his criminal court hearings.  Lucky Vhong, Deniece and Cedric seemed to have  blundered their acts.

deniece vhong




Now what can we do about women who can easily lie through convincing facial expressions (complete with tears and snorts?)  Isn’t the criminal dockets of the country  full of  rape cases – most of which have the traces of a Vhong-Deneice episode?

Philippine law makers should start legislating a “Girl Cried Wolf” law wherein women who maliciously charge men with rape will be penalised just like skalawag cops are punished for planting evidence in a drug raid.  These women should be discouraged from easily accusing another of rape most especially when the damage they can cause is not only  life-shattering but life-altering.





Three Crazy Ways to Improve the State of the Philippine Criminal Justice System.




Top on the many problems of the  Philippine criminal justice system is the turtle-paced resolution of criminal cases.  A good example is the Maguindanao Massacre case that  just commemorated its 4th year anniversary without any of those accused getting punished for the diabolic crime.  This is despite a special court put up to try the hundreds of accused and a dedicated team of private and public prosecutors presenting the damning evidence.


Second is the the poor quality of prosecutorial evidence.  This is usually due to poor investigation work by law enforcement agencies that lack operational logistics to conduct an in-depth probe on criminal cases.  Poor evidence often leads to acquittal of hardcore criminals for the reason: lack of evidence.


Third is the lack of a bonafide system of rehabilitation and reformation of criminals.  In the Philippines, once somebody is finally adjudged guilty for committing a crime, he will be sent to a hell-hole of a prison for a 3-12 year “vacation” (the period depends if the criminal “behaves properly” in the prison.).    And if you are like former Governor Antonio Leviste who despite of his homicide conviction and numerous prison violations was paroled  only after 4 years in jail!  So answering for killing somebody may only mean 4 years in jail!  What a slap on the wrist!


Now what could be an out of the box solution to this deeply-engrained problem?

Enter, the crazy but practical solutions:


First,  instead of going through the prosecutors, judges and appellate justices, why not cut this long process and employ a person like Boy Abunda who not only conduct in-depth investigation of criminal cases (like his thorough story on Buzz ng Bayan about  the recent Vhong Navarro-Deneice Cornejo-Cedric Lee tussle) but also able to present a convincing resolution.  Really now, Boy who is enjoying highest trust ratings in the country (look at his dozens of product endorsements) can very well take advantage of his credibility as the country’s ace investigator-prosecutor-and judge.  So instead of having the accused go through protracted litigation, let Boy (and other gay TV showbiz hosts like Christy Fermin under him)  do the inquisition, investigation and reportage.  Surely, their condemnation of the one responsible for the crime will ripple throughout the entire archipelago (including those having the Filipino Channel abroad!).


Second, why not let those who are accused of graft and corruption be tried under a Justice Corona impeachment-like set-up.   Not only will  it will be faster, full of fanfare, it will  surely  be damning to the accused if he is indeed guilty.   He is already adjudged guilty via a trial by publicity. With hundreds of  lawmakers more than willing to  become Honorable prosecutors and defense counsels – and avail of free TV exposure.  Actually, it is a win-win situation for all!

Rodrigo Duterte



Lastly, why don’t we abolish the entire judicial branch of government and replace it with a Solomonic court headed by Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte (and maybe a Justice on Wheels headed by his daughter Sarah “Pacwoman” Duterte).  Trials in the Duterte family court will  be  summary in nature and cheap (legal representation is optional).  At the end of the day, a firing squad covered by all major television networks will take place.



Wrong Spelling Wrong


I chose to step back and let all the hoopla about the Vhong Navarro-Deniece Cornejo-Cedric Lee controversy fully unfold. I opted to wait until a believable version of facts surfaced.  For the rest of the rumor-hungry Filipinos, however, what is happening to Vhong, Deniece and Cedric has become the country’s latest TV crime reality favourite.  What is funny is despite glaring clues about who is likely telling the truth,  people do not seem to mind as long as it titillates them.


One thing that Vhong did correctly  from the very start is to came out clean in public.  Yes, he admitted that he had indiscretions with  fresh-faced model and starlet Deniece Cornejo but was quick to say that he was enticed to make such a move. Vhong even traced the entire length of his midnight trysts with Deniece that started with an earlier date in the privacy of her condo at the plush Fort Bonifacio.  Yes, he also admitted that there was oral sex courtesy of  Deniece’s luscious mouth, but he did not go all the way and went home. This case of coitus interruptus made Deniece to call Vhong a “bad boy.” Bad Boy meaning – “you should gone all the way to the Batcave, Batman.”   One thing certain though is Vhong has really become a bad bad boy.  By giving in to indecent propoasals, he became an unfaithful butakal who did not mind trading his non-showbiz girlfriend Tanya Winona Bautista and children for a piece of young white meat.  At that very instance, he deserved to be beaten black and blue –not by Cedric but by his girlfriend.


On the other hand, Cedric Lee who is  described as a “high-rolling” businessman, could have  carefully studied his “knight in shining armour” peg.   If Vhong’s accusation of blackmail is credible, Cedric has lost the biggest gamble of his life.  For his story of rescuing a rape victim is far from  convincing.   Cedric failed to establish that he caught Vhong on top of Deniece whitish ass.  The truth of the matter is that the condominium’s CCTV cameras caught him and several of his pals  entering the condominium after seemingly normal Deniece  met them at the lobby.  Nobody will believe that a lady was raped when she did not ask for assistance from very first persons she will meet – the security guards in this case-  after escaping from the supposed rapist.  That simple.  The CCTV footages are Cedric’s worst nightmare.  This belies his claim of “stumbling” upon Vhong who was humping Deniecee plump ass inside her bedroom.   Cedric Lee should be called  Mr. CCTV (Cedric Caught on TV!) because of this blunder.

The True Origin of the Ati-atihan.


It can be considered the Philippines’ heavily-promoted tourism event – the colourful and loud  Ati-atihan festivals of January celebrated in several cities and towns in the archipelago.  Through the years, religious devotion and over- commercialism helped these events attain world-wide coverage and popularity.

Yet, if one asks how these festivals originated, the answers vary.


What is certain is that the first of these celebration was held in Kalibo, Aklan.   And there is  historical basis for the event.  This is even featured in Wikepedia:

 A 13th century (c.1200 A.D.) event explains the origins of the festival. A group of 10 Malay chieftains called Datus, fleeing from the island of Borneo settled in the Philippines, and were granted settlement by the Ati people, the tribes of Panay Island. Datu Puti, Makatunaw’s chief minister made a trade with the natives and bought the plains for a golden salakot, brass basins and bales of cloth. For the wife of the Ati chieftain, they gave a very long necklace. Feasting and festivities followed soon after.  Some time later, the Ati people were struggling with famine as the result of a bad harvest. They were forced to descend from their mountain village into the settlement below, to seek the generosity of the people who now lived there. The Datus obliged and gave them food. In return, the Ati danced and sang for them, grateful for the gifts they had been given.”

The Kalibo Ati-atihan has been celebrated for decades and even during the country’s trying times – during the Japanese occupation and the Martial Law years.  In the 1980s when the “copy-cats” ati-atihan celebrations like Iloilo City’s Dinagyang and Cebu City’s Dinagyang are in their infancy, Kalibo was already drawing national celebrities (including politicians, actors and actresses)  and who’s who of society.   Adding to the colourful costumes of the tribal groups and the free-flowing San Miguel beer is the religious command of devotion to the Santo Nino from the Roman Catholic church .   As such, droves of Sto. Nino devotees join the multitude of celebrants.

To set the record straight, however, the Ati-atihan festivals of the Philippines including the Kalibo Ati-atihan have no religious origin.  Historians are struggling to find a connection between the Sto. Nino and what is clearly a pagan celebration.  The Cebuanos are quick to dispute this saying that their Sinulog festival has Sto. Nino in its origin.  Again, this is featured in Wikepedia:

“The Sinulog dance steps are believed to originate from Rajah Humabon’s adviser, Baladhay. It was during Humabon’s grief when Baladhay was driven sick. Humabon ordered his native tribe to bring Baladhay into a room where the Santo Niño was enthroned, along with the other pagan gods of the native Cebuanos. After a few days passed, Baladhay was heard shouting and was found dancing with utmost alertness. Baladhay was questioned as to why was he awake and shouting. Pointing to the image of the Santo Niño, Baladhay explained that he had found on top of him a small child trying to wake him and tickling him with the midrib of the coconut. Greatly astonished, he scared the child away by shouting. The little child got up and started making fun of Baladhay. In turn, Baladhay danced with the little child and explained that he was dancing the movements of the river. To this day, the two-steps forward, one-step backward movement is still used by Santo Niño devotees who believe that it was the Santo Niño’s choice to have Baladhay dance.”

But even if there is mention of “a little child” dancing and teasing Baladhay, the latter’s thanksgiving dance can never be equated into worshipping  a figure said to be that of the Sto. Nino.  It was  actually “one of the pagan gods of native Cebuanos.”




At this point, readers may be wondering why this piece is disputing religious basis of the Ati-atihan.  Disassociating religion from Ati-atihan actually sets the record straight: the Ati-atihan is a pagan celebration that Filipinos should be proud even without the association of the Holy Sto. Nino.  It also discourages drunken celebrations in the name of the Holy Child.


Finding meaning in its historical origin, the Ati-atihan of the Philippines  is actually a story of friendship and peaceful co-existence between native Filipinos (the negritos) and the brown-skinned Malay Datus who came to live in Panay.  Forcefully inserting the Holy Sto. Nino into the Ati-atihan festivals only sends a wrong-signal that Filipinos are worshipping a wooden idol.





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