‘Dirty Harry’ versus ‘Kuratong Baleleng’ basher in Manila slugfest

BY THE WAY - Max V. Soliven -
It turns out, according to Alikabok, that Senator and former Police Director General Panfilo "Ping" Lacson is running for Mayor of Manila after all.

Lacson, who lost out in his try for the Presidency in 2004 – coming in a distant third after GMA and the late FPJ – probably sent out smoke signals that he’d changed his mind about contesting the Manila Mayorship because it’s just "before Christmas." Perhaps, although he’s a Caviteño not a Saluyot like myself, or a Boholano, Lacson didn’t want people crowding in on him, or lining up hungrily for a "Maligayang Pasko" from a potential Manila candidate. But soon, I’m told, Ping will reveal that he’s in the running for the mayorship of the nation’s capital.

This means that, as a gung-ho former lawman and the scourge of the kidnapping syndicates and the murderous Kuratong Baleleng (he was finally acquitted and cleared by the court of the frequently re-run accusation that he had shot down more than a dozen K.B. while they were handcuffed in custody), he’ll be pitted against another two-fisted lawman, Senator (and former Manila Mayor) Alfredo Lim.

Like Lacson, Fred Lim was not only the top Police General in his time, but was Director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Secretary of Interior and Local Governments (DILG). His reputation for honesty coupled with two-gun law enforcement earned Fred the sobriquet of "Dirty Harry" as in the Clint Eastwood movies.

The trouble with two strong men, both law and order enforcers, battling it out with each other, sorry to say, may result in the two of them cancelling each other out – permitting some undeserving twerp to sneak into the Mayorship of the vital city of Manila. If you’ll recall, the failure of the late Ronnie Poe (Fernando Poe Jr.) to get Ping Lacson to team up with him and consent to be his Vice-Presidential running mate seriously divided the opposition and may have handed presidential reelection to La Gloria on a silver platter, without the need of a "Hello Garci" intervention.

Anyway, Ping Lacson’s leaders have been extra-active recently, while soft-pedaling their candidate’s intentions.

Incidentally, Senator Lacson belongs to the famous (notorious?) Class 1971 of the Philippine Military Academy. To PMA ’71 belong former Senator and putschist Col. Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan, sacked General Carlos Garcia who was indicted for corruption – in fact, when charged Garcia was "class president." Other PMA ’71 Mistahs are former PNP Director General and Police Chief Edgardo "Egay" Aglipay and retired PNP General Ricardo "Dick" de Leon, now president of Mindanao State University.

I notice that 277 plebes were officially accepted last Saturday (including 36 female cadets) as freshman cadets. I don’t know whether they’ll follow, upon graduation, the tradition of Class ’71 which proved not a many-splendored but a many-splintered thing.

In any event, a Lim-Lacson contest, manu a mano, will be interesting. With incumbent Mayor Lito Atienza’s son Ali Atienza, weighing in, too, with all the might of daddy’s City Hall behind him, the three-way competition may give unwarranted advantage to somebody mediocre who might creep into the winning column while the Big Boys are battering each other.

Beware Manileños of the guy called Fatso, which rhymes unpoetically with Not-So Fast!
* * *
A former Annapolis buddy of Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez (a former GMA National Security Chairman turned opposition congressman himself) clinched the Democratic Party’s control of the US Senate – thus completing the composition of an anti-Bush US Congress, with the House of Representatives completely under Democratic control and California’s Rep. Nancy Pelosi taking over as the first woman Speaker of the House.

The maverick challenger, in short, Jim Webb, skidded to victory in the state of Virginia with a slim but decisive margin over incumbent Republican Senator George Allen – a winning 7,200 votes out of more than 2.3 million votes cast.

With the Republicans rebuffed in Montana, and now a Democratic candidate’s victory in Virginia, the Senate is in Democratic Party hands. Allen, instead of seeking a "recount," conceded in gentlemanly fashion – unlike most of our own politicians.

Roy Golez and Jim Webb – a Vietnam War veteran – got very close when both sparred with each other as boxers in the US Naval Academy at Annapolis. While Webb was Class ’68 and Golez Class ’70, their friendship grew firm in the locker room and on campus, where both boxed in the Admiral Halsey arena. Webb was in the Welterweight class, while Golez was champion for four years in a row, from his freshman year to Midshipman, without a single loss. Roy was champion in the junior lightweight division, and the referee when he kayoed his opponent in his plebe year was none other than world Heavyweight Champion Rocky Marciano.

In those days, I suppose, Roy Golez could "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee", with due apologies to the great, Muhammad Ali. In Webb’s case, he was defeated in his bid for a championship by the famous Col. Oliver North of later Iran-Contra notoriety.

What’s interesting is that Webb is a former Republican who had previously served as Navy Undersecretary under the late President Ronald Reagan. He joined the Democratic Party in disgust with events of the past few years, particularly the Iraq War. Looking at his record, though, the outspoken Webb’s presence in the Senate may prove as unsettling to his fellow Democrats as to Republicans.

Webb, a true son of the South, named his own son after Robert E. Lee and wrote a book, entitled "Born Fighting", which he himself described as a full-throated defense of "Rednecks. Trailer-park trash. Racists. Cannon fodder. My ancestors. My people. Me." Sanamagan.

Andrew Fergusan recently said in "The Weekly Standard" that Webb took white Protestants "who have always been the villains in movies from "MASH" to ‘Remember the Titans’ and defended them as "an oppressed minority." And their oppressors, Webb growled, were the highly-educated liberal snobs from New York, Washington, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

"For the last 50 years," Webb wrote in "Born Fighting", the Left has been doing everything in their power to sue them, legislate against their interests, mock them in the media, isolate them as idiosyncratic, and publicly humiliate their traditions."

David Brooks in the "International Herald Tribune" wrote the most colorful and incisive portrait of newly-minted Senator-elect Webb (INT, Nov. 7). Webb, he said, had come home from Vietnam disgusted with the liberal elites who reviled the military and, as he wrote in 1997, "were trying to destroy the foundations of American Society."

"Jane Fonda can kiss my (behind)," he once told a radio interviewer in the bracing and irrepressible manner that is his trademark, Brooks reported. "I wouldn’t go across the street to watch her slit her wrist." (Actress Jane Fonda was known in the resentful military, particularly among the grunts fighting in Vietnam, as "Hanoi Jane", since at the height of the Vietnam War she had visited Hanoi to fraternize with "Uncle Ho" Chi Minh and Vo Nguyen Giap, and condemn the war on radio and television as American imperialism, etc.)
* * *
According to Brooks, Webb found himself at Georgetown Law School. (The Jesuit Georgetown University is also the alma mater of La Gloria, as well as former US President Bill Clinton).

"Webb came to view the majority of his fellow students as the most miserable, neurotic and obsessive collection of individuals he had ever met," Robert Timberg wrote in his own book, "The Nightingale Song," in which the author recounted the lives of "heroic" Annapolis graduates including Senator John McCain who’s reportedly contemplating another run for the Presidency (against Hillary Clinton who got thumpingly reelected as Senator in New York with perhaps the best-funded campaign plus a little help from hubby Bill?)

Anyhow, Brooks says that Webb began to see an America riven by a social divide.

"On the one side were people like himself: tough, independent, hard-working traditionalists who know how to shoot, fight and endure; and on the other side were what he has at various times called the ‘drug-drenched,’ ‘sex-enshrined’ narcissists, who cower in their parochial elite enclaves and pass judgment on everybody else."

Brooks adds: "He’s criticized affirmative action and women in combat. He at one time opposed the Vietnam Memorial, which seemed to rebuke the warrior virtues."

The irony of it was that "he was continually irritated by the Democratic Party and its leaders.

"I cannot conjure up an ounce of respect for Bill Clinton when it comes to the military’, Webb told the American Enterprise magazine. "I don’t think Bill cares one iota about what happens in a military unit."

"The Democratic Party," Webb had once argued in a 1995 "Wall Street Journal" Op-Ed article, "was once a champion of the worker-producer, but abandoned him in favor of special interests who define their advancement mostly through the extent of his own demise."

Those were harsh words, indeed, especially in the light of this year, when Webb posted for Senator on the Democratic ticket in Virginia.

By golly, with Webb in the Senate, there’ll be a hot time in Washington DC when he’s sworn in.

For Webb loves to hurl barbed ephitets like the old god of Olympus threw thunderbolts from heaven. Manila’s late Arsenio Lacson, when he was the Mayor with a double-barrelled mouth, used to say, "I believe in calling a spade a damn dirty shovel." Webb is of the same acerbic and even more abrasive mold.

In the campaign, incumbent Senator Allen tried to use passages from Webb’s own colorful novels against him, like his graphic descriptions of sex in Subic Bay, in the brothels of Olongapo. (He knew that US Base here very well). Webb countered the Allen accusations with the wry comment that sex in a whore house couldn’t be described like a prayer session in a convent. A novel, after all, he grunted, is a novel.

"It was tough fighting Allen, a former Virginia Governor and one-term Senator," he e-mailed Golez. "But I got there!"

America ought to brace itself for the verbal onslaughts of this fella whose tongue is more dangerous than forked lightning.
* * *
THE ROVING EYE . . . The latest rumor in the gossip mills is that former Police Chief now Secretary of Public Works and Highways, retired P/Gen. Hermogenes "Jun" Ebdane is gunning for the National Defense Secretaryship with the support of Big Number "M." Ebdane, a former Grand Master of the Masons, is being pushed hard. (Another Police General in the Cabinet, jumping from DPWH to DND?)… If Ebdane gets DND, the rumor-spinners say, retired Police Director General Art C. Lomibao, currently head of the National Irrigation Administration could get the DPWH slot… But what would the Army, Navy and Air Force say of so many Police Generals at the top? Just asking.











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