By MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA
All roads led to the office of the governor and the Police Provincial Office of Pangasinan last January 16.
“General” Sr. Supt. Moro Virgilio Lazo, hold-over chief of the police regional office-1 (PRO-1) and Sr. Supt. (Colonel) Sterling Raymund Blanco, Pangasinan’s OIC police director, paid a courtesy call at the office of Pangasinan Governor Amado T. Espino and met the province’s acrimonious media.
After the dust settled inside the primer Kubo (hut) at the PPO the members of the tri-media who shoved and jostled to interview the two Philippine National Police personalities packed their things and left off, I found myself and RJ Jimenez, broadcaster of Home Radio (FM band na naging AM band) as the last two media men left standing with Lazo (Philippine Military Academy class of 1984), Blanco (PMA ’89) and the top brass of the PPO that included Supt. Laurence “Full Metal Jacket” Sison (PMA 92) waiting for our sumptuous lunch composed of hot sea and water based foods and meat barbecue.
Lazo, who had stints as United Nation peacekeeper in Cambodia and East Timor, told me and RJ that even he gets his star rank anytime this year, Philippine National Police law bars him to be a full time regional director of the premier police regional office where he is the acting top honcho.
“I would be assigned anywhere but in Region 1”.
Lazo, a former Special Action Force and is an officer and a gentleman according to British Royal Marine Commando trained retired colonel Pat Pinol, enthralled us about an upper class man at the PMA who used to be a waiter but graduated at the long gray line in 1983, and another upper class man who joined the priesthood after he graduated at the Philippines’ version of West Point and Sandhurst in Baguio City and saw action at the Army (Scout Ranger?).
“Nagtataka kami bakit “manong” (moniker of waiter at the PMA) ang tawag sa kanya ng mga classmates and upper class niya,” he told us.
Lazo said they learned later that the manong was once a waiter at the PMA mess hall.
“Siguro sir, special treatment siya sa mess hall kasi mga dating kasamahan niya iyong mga waiters doon,” Colonel Blanco butted in.
“He became a general and retired from the service last year,” Lazo said.
“Iyong command barber nga doon may anak na graduate sa PMA,’ Blanco told us when I told them that Susan the waitress at the Batchoy Store of retired Colonel Orlindo C. Cainggoy in the Bowling Lane has a son too who is a plebe now there when I visited Fort Del Pilar last year.
“Son of a gun, PMA indeed is a great equalizer on the economic strata of the cruel and emaciating Philippine Society,” I told RJ.
Lazo said he met the priest (who probably a dead ringer of the priest in the flick "Priest" directed by Scott Stewart) during the second visit of Pope John Paul II in January 10-15, 1995 in the country.
“I was with the Presidential Security Group (PSG) and part of an advance party as security of the Pope we have to meet the advance party of the Pope composed of priests and Swiss Guards.
He said he told the PMAyers at the PSG that the man of God sporting a sotana (cassock) who led his group of priests seems like their upper class man at PMA but his fellow cavaliers were nonchalant.
Lazo said since he could no longer bear his curiosity he went to the priest during the lull of the activity “chinned-in just like a plebe, I rendered my snappiest salute to him with a quipped of “sir”.
Gee whiz, the stunned “Father” instinctively reciprocated his salute with a salute from an officer to his subordinate developed at Borromeo Field in PMA.
Seeing it was awkward to a priest in a cassock answering a salute of a lower class, the man of God pleaded to Lazo in a slow priest- liked ala Kuya Cesar voice that he should not salute him anymore “kasi wala na ako sa serbisyo, nasa simbahan na ako”.
I butted too that priest was liked Erwin Rommel Luga (PMA ’83 a son of a general and the brother of my boss at Tactics at PMA the present Lt. General Allan Luga) who together with PMA retired Captain Nonoy Janeo answered the call of the Supreme Commander in the Universe Jesus Christ by joining the pulpit of the born again Christian church in Baguio City.
If Erwin did not join the ministry as pastor, he would be a general too like his brother Allan, I told them.
As we have our good time inside the hut, the new Regional Director Adrian Alvarino of the Philippine Drugs Enforcement Agency in Region 1 and member of PMA class 2001) arrived and joined the nostalgia in Baguio City. He said that he still remembers PMA boxing mentor retired Master Sergeant "Wonder Boy” Doyaoen (our neighbor at the RFC at the Academy in 1970s) about his Floyd Mayweather Sr. and Floyd Mayweather, Jr shoulder-roll defenses he taught to cadets who want to learn the basic of the hurt business.
|New Regional Director Adrian Alvarino of the Philippine|
Drugs Enforcement Agency in Region 1 explains
the nitty gritty of his operation. Alvarino is a member of
PMA class 2001.
Although my kasimanwa PDEA top honcho Alvarino was dismissed from the service because of his involvement in the Oakwood Mutiny when he joined then Navy Captain and now Senator Antonio Trillanes of the Magdalo, son of a gun Alvarino was not only running after the jugular of the bad guys at the illegal drug business (after President Aquino gave him and his group an amnesty), he was plucked too to a regional directorship position that is equivalent to a “star” rank in the police or military while his mistahs or classmates at the PMA class 2001 are still in the boondocks contenting themselves with their ‘major” rank.
Toto Alvarino, my kasimanwa from the cities of Koronadal and Iloilo said he joined PMA at the age of 17.
When I told them that an air force commander, a colonel, I met at a base in Mindanao years ago told me how power entered the head of Senator Trillanes.
“Hindi na iyan sumasaludo sa mga upper class men niya pag nakakasalubong niya,” the air force colonel told me when we were glued two years ago watching the nasty verbal tussles on TV between Trillanes and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
Lt. Colonel Laurence Sison said he still maintains military decorum and courtesy he learned from PMA.
“Matanda na akong pumunta sa PMA pero kahit bata ang upper class ko I still saluted them and called them “sir”,
I told them that we should laud Governor Espino every time he met his upper class men like Sta. Barbara Mayor Rey Velasco (PMA ’71 and former three star general) and retired Vice Admiral Billy Marcelo (PMA ’61) every time he crossed with these guys in public functions he saluted them.
Oh by the way, before I end this piece on what ensued at the kubo, I told the top brass there that media man RJ Jacinto has a bad experience at the bunks of the Regis Hall of PMA when he report as a newly minted cadet.
I cited that RJ was one of the 300 newly arrived plebes but was told by the tactical officer that the 300 beds there were only 299.
“Kinulang ng isa at naka pangalan sa akin iyong nawalang kama. Kaya binigyan na lang ako ng pamasahe ng Commandant pambili ko daw ticket sa Victory Liner pauwing Pangasinan. Kaya ito, nag media na lang ako,” RJ tearfully told us his misfortune.