Ilonggo journalists don’t run away from a good cause

By Alex P. Vidal

“Never run from the enemy, tackle them.” ― Victoria Addino

A YEAR ago, I stood toe to toe against several pseudo community leaders and phony moral guardians in the Filipino community in New York City who tried to stop me from dispensing my job and obligation as a critical journalist based in this part of the world.

This was when I criticized then Philippine Consul General Elmer Cato for posting on Twitter at least two dubious “Asian Hate” crime stories involving Filipinos in two separate “incidents.”

After conducting my own investigations and fact-checking, I found several loopholes in the tweets that were nonetheless picked and reported by several Philippine media networks.

It caused untold worries and panic among Philippine-based parents who had children or relatives in New York.

I felt it was a moral obligation to correct the wrong; a clarion call to give justice to truth.

I insisted Cato’s twin tweets lacked merits and authenticity and may have been fed to him by eager-beaver gossipers who tried to ingratiate themselves to the good consul general to curry whatever favors.


Instead of answering the valid issue, Cato refused to grab the bull by its horns and “relied” on a group of sips-sips and grutnols who called themselves “community leaders” to neutralize or silence me. They picked the wrong prey.

I stood my ground and refused to be intimidated.

Ilonggo journalists, wherever we are around the globe, never ran away from good causes or crusades.

I fought them tongs and hammer and, through a video, dared them to a debate in the Philippine Consulate to resolve that Cato’s twin tweets weren’t shady.

None of these heavyweights answered my call; they chickened out. An overbearing physician, a nurse manager, a retired social worker (mostly socialites who frequented the consulate office doing beso-beso with the consulate bigwigs and engaging them in ballroom dancing at night).

In the first place, they had nothing to do whatsoever with my articles about Cato but wanted to play false heroes for the embattled consul general.

I also exposed the missing $600,000 funds those impostors and hypocrites solicited from private persons and companies made possible through the support of past (I didn’t say Cato was involved) consulate big guns (a case for the missing funds was filed against this group in New Jersey).

The articles I wrote reached the attention of Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique A. Manalo in the Philippines (thanks to the power of the internet).

After several weeks, Cato, a good man, was removed from New York (I didn’t say because of my exposé).

And the rest is history.


Everywhere in the world today people experience moral, political, financial, and spiritual crisis.

Political crisis if we make a mistake of electing clowns and magicians as leaders (Bad Boy Padilla, Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada, atbp.).

Spiritual crisis if we are smitten by false messiahs and businessmen masquerading as Bible preachers.

Financial crisis caused by global recession abetted by manipulative technocrats and oligarchs, unethical executives that stonewall economic growth.

Moral crisis due to our weak values and lack of self-discipline; our predilection for escapism and heavy reliance on cyber technology as custodian of virtues and righteousness (watch how monster AI will destroy humanity, God forbid).

No matter what happens we should keep our chin up. When we indulge in gloom we are hurting ourselves most of all.


We know there are some feelings that poison us just as certainly as arsenic. They have a direct effect upon the body.

Anger reddens the face, fright makes the hair stand on end, grief destroys the appetite and embarrassment makes the mouth dry.

One of the surest mental poisons is despair. It dulls the brain and confuses the hands.

Why give up? As long as we live we will have some sort of a chance. Nine-tenths of success, after all, is pep.

The man that faces misfortune with a smile and a stout heart cannot be beaten.

There is always tomorrow, and what tomorrow has in store for us no man knows.

At least we make up our mind to this one thing, no matter what fate may do to us it shall not make us afraid. Amen.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)