No fear against bad politicians

By Alex P. Vidal

“One of the reasons people hate politics is that truth is rarely a politician’s objective. Election and power are.”— Cal Thomas

WERE members of the Negros Oriental press really “afraid” of the dreaded Teves political clan?

In at least three interviews in the national TV networks, I watched in disbelief as Pamplona, Negros Oriental mayor Janice Degamo, widow of slain governor Roel Degamo, lamented that the alleged past abuses of the Teves political clan, including political killings, “were never reported in the local media.”

“Takot sa kanila (Teves clan) ang mga local media. I’m sorry to say this,” Mayor Degamo bewailed.

Incidents of killings and other related violence are news. I’m sure they were also reported in the Negros press, contrary to the mayor’s claim.

It’s impossible for my equally vigilant colleagues in Negros—both Occidental and Oriental—not to tackle them.

What the mayor probably meant was “takot” or afraid to criticize the family. There’s a whale of difference between reporting a news and fearing to criticize an abuse or abuses by a politician, military, or powerful people.

We’re not sure if Negros media people were really natakot/nahadlok (afraid) as alleged by the widow Degamo. But we assure Mayor Degamo that if this arrogant Arnie Teves were our congressman in Western Visayas or in Iloilo, we would never fear him.

We have encountered warlord and uneducated politicians more dangerous, more brutal, more immature, and more powerful than Congressman Teves.


I’M not totally against immigration officers who are strict in scrutinizing the itineraries of departing Pinoy passengers in all the international airports in the Philippines.

Except for the female passenger who missed a flight to Israel after being asked and failed to show her yearbook, other complaints of “lengthy” Bureau of Immigration (BI) pre-departure interview shouldn’t be taken against the BI officers.

With a growing number of cases involving Pinoy travelers who ended up as victims of human trafficking, labor abuse and exploitation in foreign lands, there really is a need to strictly monitor the flights of many departing passengers abroad.

The BI may be only trying to make sure Pinoy passengers with insufficient travel documents are protected from syndicates that have victimized so many unsuspecting Pinoy “tourists” and jobseekers who didn’t pass through the normal overseas employment process.

Before the alleged “lengthy” BI interviews that raised a howl of protest from those who reportedly missed their flights, several Pinoy jobseekers duped to work in Thailand and Myanmar were either rescued or escaped from unauthorized and unscrupulous employers believed to be syndicates.

Many of them detailed horrifying ordeals from dubious employers who allegedly punished them harshly if they could not meet their quota or pay certain “penalties.”

Most of these jobseekers left the Philippines as “tourists.”

Do we prefer a “lengthy” BI interview (without necessarily missing our flights, of course) or a smooth BI interview but one that will -o0o-compromise and endanger our OFW or tourists?


I finally made a decision at past two o’clock in the afternoon on March 20, to go back to the Lower Manhattan Monday night (March 20) to cover the demonstration by supporters of former President Donald Trump who protested the ongoing grand jury testimony that Mr. Trump had claimed would lead to his arrest in a case not related to his alleged ties in the January 6, 2021 capitol attack.

I checked for the pro-Trump rally in the morning and learned that it was scheduled only at Mar a Lago in Mr. Trump’s Florida property.

I waited for several hours and learned another rally was scheduled in Manhattan, organized by The New York Young Republican Club, which described the rally that began at six o’clock in the evening as a “peaceful protest” of what it characterized as Manhattan District Attorney “Alvin Bragg’s heinous attack on President Donald J. Trump and the legitimacy of the American judicial system.”

The gathering, which is billed as only being open to members of the club plus the Long Island Loud Majority conservative group, came on the eve of the day on which Mr. Trump has said he expected to be arrested.


In a March 18 social media post, Trump claimed that he “WILL BE ARRESTED ON TUESDAY” in the case, which concerns hush money paid to women who, during his 2016 campaign, alleged Mr. Trump’s past sexual encounters.

In the same message, Trump called on supporters to “PROTEST, TAKE OUR NATION BACK!”

The NYPD on Monday positioned extra barricades in Lower Manhattan in preparation for a possible indictment of the former president.

The Associated Press, citing a person familiar with the situation who was granted anonymity to discuss the secret proceedings, reported earlier that the preparations came as Robert Costello, an attorney allied with the former president, was expected to testify March 20 before the grand jury.

In addition to working with fellow Trump allies Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani, Costello also briefly served as a legal adviser to Michael Cohen, a key witness in the investigation.

Cohen previously pleaded guilty in connection to the hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and model Karen McDougal, which he alleges were directed by Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump, who is running for a second White House term in 2024, has denied having sex with either woman, and has characterized Cohen, a former longtime lawyer for the Trump Organization, as a liar. Bragg’s office, which has not shared a timeline for the grand jury proceedings, has declined comment on Trump’s claims of imminent arrest.

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