By Alex P. Vidal
“Oh, it’s not really gambling when you never lose.”—Jennifer Aniston
“AGUY-AGUY” (“ouch-ouch”) assured his children in Brgy. Maria Clara, Iloilo City Proper in the Philippines “he was never involved” in online sabong, a cockfighting aired “live” online from the Philippines when they recently talked via Facebook messenger.
“Wala na ako naga sugal diri ya (I don’t engage in gambling here anymore). Some (online sabong organizers) of them are my friends, but when they started to talk about gambling, especially sabong, I kept quiet and slowly walked away. I hate online sabong,” the 72-year-old Ilonggo former sailor, a New York resident, told his children in Iloilo City.
Aguy-Aguy’s family became worried for his safety after they learned that several online cockfighting bettors and capitalists in the Philippines went missing and were never seen again after being kidnapped since last year.
Many male Filipino gamblers in the borough of Queens were reportedly “very active” in online sabong even before the pandemic.
We reported here last year that some of them have been “kicked out” from their apartments by their wives who couldn’t tolerate their gambling addiction.
“Dito sa New York they don’t kidnap each other dahil matindi ang batas dito. Walang patayan. Napaka imposibli yan. What they do is they rat with each other. Pa-traidor ang labanan. Dalawa dito ang sugalan. Sila sila mismo ang nag ti-tip sa mga pulis. Syempre kung nasa Pilipinas sila nagpatayan na yan,” disclosed Boyet Pampanga, Aguy-Aguy’s friend.
He is known in the Filipino community as “aguy aguy”, a Hiligaynon translation for “ouch ouch” in English or “aray aray” in Tagalog.
The real Hiligaynon word for ouch is “araguy”, but friends in Queens call him “aguy-aguy”, slang or shortcut of “araguy-araguy.”
Aguy-Aguy actually loathed the way fellow Filipinos addressed him.
“I have a name, but they teased me because of intrigues,” Aguy-Aguy once bemoaned.
“Yun na kasi ang tatak niya at ang naging identity kaya alam na
ng mga tao na siya ang tinutukoy pag may nangyari nanaman sa kalye (That’s already his identity and he has been known for that alias that’s why people are aware if there is another incident in the road),” disclosed Boyet Pampanga, Aguy-Aguy’s friend.
When he didn’t have a job, Aguy-Aguy reportedly would wait for his “targets” on the sidewalks.
He would reportedly choose passing vehicles driven by women or younger drivers before throwing himself onto the middle of the road or onto the roadside pretending he had been sideswiped.
When the drivers stopped and checked, he would grimace and moan “araguuuuuy…araguuuuuy” (ouch..ouch).
For fear of being arrested or booked for a vehicular “accident”, other traffic “violations” and to avoid inconvenience, the drivers would reportedly agree to a “settlement” if Aguy-Aguy “wasn’t badly hurt.”
“Kumita siya sa gimmick na yan (He earned a lot of money in that gimmickry),” Bebot, who allegedly witnessed some of Aguy-Aguy’s exploits, said.
“Sa una nakakatuwa ang mga ginagawa niya. Pero sa bandang huli na-isip isip rin namin na paano na lang kung matuluyan siya? (His stunts looked funny earlier, but we realized later that what if he will be hit by car fatally?),” Butchoy, another “witness”, intoned.
Aguy-Aguy jumped ship in 1979, two years before Ronald Reagan became the 40th president of the United States.
Five years into his presidency, Reagan signed into law The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 on Nov. 6, 1986.
It provided amnesty to nearly three million undocumented immigrants who proved that they had been in the United States prior to Jan. 1, 1982.
Aguy-Aguy was among those who benefited from the Reagan Amnesty and became a U.S. citizen.
The law’s sanctions against employers who hired undocumented immigrants were never vigorously enforced.
He was already reportedly a retiree when he started doing the “aguy-aguy” stunts.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)