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A long talk


As WS was on his regular brisk walking routine to town yesterday, by chance he met a man with a very familiar look, and motioned a sign of greeting to him. Soon after he smiled and said, “Quien pa tu? (Who could you be?) My answer was, of course, was “Jimmy Cabato.” At age 79, straight out of Canada for the last 19 years and a stroke and 4-year old stroke victim, he immediately shot back, “El writer.” Reply was, “Sort of.” Then he quickly added, “Estaba consejal.” (Former councilor.)
Whew..! Such a talker he turned out to be. The man was Dennis Schuck, as he began non-stop for some thirty minutes or so, relating certain chapters in his life. Conversing in alternately in fluent chabacano and English, he started with his first employment experience. “Jimmy, I pioneered the Pole Grande Elementary School straight from college, and stayed there for three years. During martial law, a small American army engineering contingent came to Zamboanga, offering to build pre-fab school buildings to areas announced to be with accessible roads. My God! Pole in barangay La Paz, is accessible only by carabao sleds, but badly in need of a replacement building, as theirs was of dilapidated sawali walls and nipa roofings. So, I ventured to go see the US official.
His first question was, is your school site accessible by our vehicles? Sir, I answered, please don’t pose that as a hindrance, your country is even sending men to the moon, our mountain ranges is much much nearer. That should be the least of you worries. With your modern hardware, you can reach our place.” He added, “I must have touched his ego, for in the next three days, American builders with their heavy equipment and materials went up to La Paz and opened the road going to Pole. My dream materialized.”
That’s only the 1st related chapter in his life yet. He went on, “Having been in Pole for over three years, I went to see then Superintendent Samuel Tindick to request for transfer.”
To his dismay, Mr. Tindick said, ‘We may have problems for your replacement, as nobody might accept the slot.” He (Dennis) replied, “Sir, there are many fresh graduates around. I was one before and I accepted the Pole slot.” The good superintendent then promised to seek one. “But after some days after, no replacement came, so I went to see then Mayor Jun Enriquez for help.” I asked him, “Mayor, would you know me?” He answered, ‘Of course, whenever I visit La Paz, it’s you I see. You want to be transferred? I will go see Mr. Tindick today.’ Two days later, I was assigned in Baliwasan.”
That’s not all, folks. He still spoke some, “I became somewhat ambitious then, resigned as teacher, and ventured into the barter business, travelling back and forth frequently to Labuan, Malaysia. And I was truly making a fortune. In the process, I turned to vices.”
But he mentioned only smoking and drinking. No citing of gambling, and neither women. But looking at his mestizo looks, WS did not agree on no women, and asked, “Mujer gale? (What about women?) Sheepishly, he gave out a naughty smile, saying nothing. Alam na! (T’was an affirmation.)
“And because of that God burned my fortune (probably referring to the big conflagration that hit the entire barter trade compound  and gulped at the commodities inside. So, with fortune gone, “I told my wife, I’m venturing to Saudi, and soon after applied for a job. It so happened, the vacancy was in Mecca, the Holy Land. And for one to set foot there, he must be a Muslim. It was good, I was married to a half-Muslim and always joined up with her in praying. Thus, I practiced Islam. When I wrent to apply, I was asked, ‘You are Dennis (middle name escapes me now, but it sounded foreign, too) Schuck, how can you be a Muslim?”
I replied, “Islam is a  universal religious, do I have to change my name to be Muslim?” The interviewer gave out a touchy smile, and weeks later, it was off to Mecca for me, where I stayed for three years.
It also happened then, two of my daughters, became Canadian citizens and they petitioned for my transfer there.”
Anticipating a longer dialogue, with the Monggueh Cabinet waiting for me in town, I had to butt in, “I have to go, Sir. A group of friends is waiting for me. Nice meeting you. For sure, we will be meeting again. Bye for now.” He did not stop me.
Had I not rammed in courteously, for sure, he would gone on and on.
When I reached home that night, I related to my wife my encounter with a Shuck. At no moment’s time, she said, “Dennis? Amiga mio diaqauel mujer. Si Anita. She was my co-teacher in Baliwasan, Bunita ga’t quell.” (Dennis? His wife is my friend. Anita. She was co-teacher in Baliwasan. Very beautiful.”
When WS thought of sharing this experience with you, he never expected this to occupy almost one and a half short bond-sized paper. Anyway, it was a worthy chance meeting.
X x x x X
The law is the law, WS agrees. But for authorities to be overly zealous in the implementation of puny laws, appears not that much commendable.
Here are two instances. First, take the case of the law mandating the use of helmets, thoughtlessly crafted as it was, should be the least of concerns of law enforcers. The idea of its use is to protect one’s head from injury in road accidents. Agreed.
Limiting our talk to the town proper, Zamboanga City is overly crowded with vehicles these days, with city streets snarling in traffic. The fastest then a motorcyclist may run is from 15 to 20 kph. With that kind of speed, would you believe anyone who tumbles or is hit, will damage his head and die?
Never! He will land safe and sound. Say you?
Now, let a helmeted rider run 90 to 120 kph in highways. When he, God forbid, meets an accident - tumbles or is rammed - would believe a helmet will save him?
Never! He’s dead meat. Agree or disagree?
Therefore, I am not fascinated with lawmen who unswervingly run after unhelmeted cyclists in town. As if there are no other offenses for them to watch over!
Makes WS ask, when the police were leading the anti-drug war, were these hyprocrites just as zealous as when they vent their obsessive behaviors on unhelmeted cysclists?
I doubt.
Second, the anti-gambling law. We hear that law enforcers these days have centered their passion on conducts of Feria, the small-time parlor games, where people do bet, but in minimal amount. Most people patronize ferias only to while away time.
And from what WS knows, all ferias in operation are properly equipped with heftily paid business permits from city hall. From where then do violations stem for their suspension?    
X x x x X
Retired police general Wenceslao “Wally” Sombero during the Senate Committee on Blue Ribbon hearing, testified that the “extortion and pay-off” involving Bureau of Immigration (BI) officials was to pave way for the release of gambling mogul Jack Lam’s Chinese employees who were arrested last year for supposedly illegally working in the country.
Sombero said the extortion happened on November 26, while “the pay-off” transpired on November 27.
He admitted serving as middleman and handed the P50 million to sacked Deputy Commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles, and even admitted receiving P10 million from Lam’s camp. He denied, however, getting P2 million from the P50 million given to the BI officials.
Sombero claimed, he appeared in the hearing “to save” the online gaming service industry in the country, which was “being sabotaged and derailed by relentless raids conducted by some misguided law enforcement officers with some misguided judges.”
Meanwhile, businessman Charlie “Atong” Ang, business partner of gambling mogul Jack Lam cleared Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II and Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente of extortion, at the same time confirming Commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles’ involvement in the scandal.
X x x x X
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV revived his previous allegations that Duterte has undeclared wealth that reached P2.4 billion from 2006 to 2015.
To that Duterte stressed, he will resign the presidency if Trillanes is able to prove that his account at any one time had even at least half a billion.
For his part, Trillanes, who claims to have copies of documents that detail bank accounts held by the Duterte family, also said he will resign if his allegations turn out to be false.
X x x x X
“Just a “procedural matter” is what the Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo the camp describes the resolution of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) that the protest of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is “sufficient in form and substance.
Robredo lead lawyer Atty. Romulo Macalintal clarified that it only this means that Marcos is being given “the opportunity to prove his case.
In any case, folks, what is clear is, the PET agrees the Marcos protest is sufficient in form and substance. (By Jimmy Cabato)

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