Grr rrrr…During the reception sponsored by the Philippines for the RP-US friendship caucus on Capitol Hill June 24, only six members of the US Congress were able to make it. They were overwhelmed by the presence of more than 50 members of the Philippine House of Representatives who attended the reception. The junketing solons were part of the large entourage of President Arroyo during her “working” visit in Washington D.C. While Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Mike Honda were among those given awards by the President, they were conspicuously absent during the ceremony. Only Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and Reps. Bob Filner (D-CA) and Darrell Isa (R-CA) came to receive it. Latest report is that many of the congressmen were unable to watch the Pacquiao-Diaz fight in Las Vegas, Nevada June 28. *** Grrrrr ..Malacanang released the photo of what it said were Filipino American leaders “welcoming” President Arroyo as she arrived at the Willard Hotel in Washington D.C. midnight of June 22. Actually, the “leaders” were all members of the staff of the Philippine embassy. *** Some Filipino American community leaders who have been very vocal during the past few months about the unabated corruption and violation of human rights in the Philippines were seen loudly clapping and giving a standing ovation to President Arroyo during the community gathering at the ballroom of the Willard Hotel in D.C. Many even came in gowns and formal attire. One observer said, “the balimbings are back.” Oldtime observers said it was just like the Marcos years, when many would attend the lavish community receptions and programs hosted by Kokoy Romualdez in Washington D.C. *** Grrrr….. Lito Katigbak, the bureau chief of a major Manila newspaper in Washington D.C. is furious. He is seething. He is is mad, angry. Reason: The Philippine embassy press office has failed to provide him and the other reporters in the Washington D.C. area with the schedule of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo prior to her arrival here June 23. Katigbak sent an email to Consul Rico Fos of the Philippine embassy with copy furnished press attaché Bing Gallaga, Rodney Jaleco of ABS-CBN Balitang America, Jennie Ilustre of Malaya newspaper, Rita G. Adkins, Bing Branigin and the Manila Mail. Here it goes: “Is there any plausible reason why didn’t you send the June 23 schedule earlier? Despite attempts by some of us to get in touch with you, you didn’t get back to us until the last possible minute. “You’re supposed to be the press coordinator of the GMA visit but from what I gather you coordinated squat. I had to call Amb. Gaa in San Francisco on Sunday morning to complain about the local press being left in the dark. “The embassy press office did not only not bother to brief the press, but worst it hindered the media’s work. “When I called the MCC on Thursday (June 19) to inquire about GMA’s meeting with Amb. Danilovich I was told you were the coordinator of the visit and as such the only who could tell us the housekeeping details of the meeting. “I really fail to understand why you did not get in touch until the last moment on such an important matter as GMA’s visit to Washington. However, on a minor story like the dedication of the Jones Memorial you kept sending us emails on what a good human interest story that could be. Is the Jones memorial more important than a visit by the president of the Philippines to the United States? “And where was Mr Gallaga, the head of the press office, during all this time? “I guess if the press office cannot properly invite the local press to Amb. Gaa’s Independence Day reception it would be foolish to expect it to go a decent job of arranging coverage for President Arroyo’s visit to Washington.” *** The following are quotable quotes from lawyers and witnesses during court trials in the Philippines. They were compiled by court reporters for posterity: ATTORNEY: When is your birthday? WITNESS: July 18th. ATTORNEY: What year? WITNESS: Every year. ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact? WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks. ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all? WITNESS: Yes. ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory? WITNESS: I forget. ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot? ATTORNEY: How old is your son, the one living with you? WITNESS: Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can’t remember which. ATTORNEY: How long has he lived with you? WITNESS: Forty-five years. ATTORNEY: Are you sexually active? WITNESS: No, I just lie there. ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning? WITNESS: He said, “Where am I, Cathy?” ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you? WITNESS: My name is Susan. ATTORNEY: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo? WITNESS: We both do. ATTORNEY: Voodoo? WITNESS: We do. ATTORNEY: You do? WITNESS: Yes, voodoo. ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn’ t it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn’t know about it until the next morning? WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam? ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the twenty-one year-old, how old is he? WITNESS: Uh, he’s twenty-one. ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken? WITNESS: Would you repeat the question? ATTORNEY: So the date of conception of the baby was August 8th? WITNESS: Yes. ATTORNEY: And what were you doing at that time? WITNESS: Uh…. ATTORNEY: She had three children, right? WITNESS: Yes. ATTORNEY: How many were boys? WITNESS: None. ATTORNEY: Were there any girls? ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated? WITNESS: By death. ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated? ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual? WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard. ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female? ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney? WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work. ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people? WITNESS: All my autopsies are performed on dead people. ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to? WITNESS: Oral. ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body? WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 pm. ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time? WITNESS: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy on him! ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample? WITNESS: Huh? ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse? WITNESS: No. ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure? WITNESS: No. ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing? WITNESS: No. ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy? WITNESS: No. ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor? WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar. ATTORNEY: But could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless? WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law. *** The economic downturn brought about by the rise in the price of oil and the collapse of the housing market have also affected many in the Filipino American community around the US, including the greater Washington D.C. area. Reports of some Pinoys losing their jobs, encountering financial difficulties or facing foreclosure of their homes are rife in town. Reports are that those gravely affected by the downtrend are realtors, travel agencies, restaurants and others. The Manila Mail is no exception. According to sources, some of the Mail’s regular advertisers have not renewed their advertisements, reduced the size of their ads or delayed payment. They said even a religious group which depends on contributions from members for its existence has failed to pay the Mail for its ads. Before the economic slowdown, the sources said, the paper has already been experiencing an increase in production cost and a decline in advertising revenues. They said that to cut cost, the Mail has reduced the regular number of pages from 32 to 24. It will also be forced to raise advertising rates in the months ahead in order to survive, they added. ***

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