By Alex P. Vidal
BOTH Rep. Arnie Teves of Negros Oriental and former Philippine National Police (PNP) director general Camilo Cascolan understand what “waslik poder” is since they are Visayans.
When you take advantage of your position and connection to corner juicy projects and appointments in government—especially if you don’t deserve to get the projects and the appointments—your act can be categorized as “waslik poder.”
People in power who circumvent the law or take an easy route by applying arm-twisting tactics to gain favors or illegally seize something in their advantage can be stricken with the disease called “waslik poder.”
When you become STL operator or franchise holder of gambling operations like e-sabong (online cockfighting) while at the same time holding a high position in government, or acting as PNP chief, it’s pure and simple “waslik poder.”
We have no idea when Cascolan, who received a civilian position under the Duterte administration after retiring from police service in 2021, acquired his franchise to operate e-sabong.
As a former PNP chief, his acquisition of franchise of the controversial gambling operation definitely leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
He may have used his position and influence to hack out the favor, and it smacks of lack delicadeza.
Ditto for Rep. Teves, who had been tagged by Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) board member Sandra Cam as an alleged STL operator in Negros, and now as franchise holder of e-sabong by gambling organizer Charlie “Atong” Ang.
Under the law, you can’t be a government official while at the same time gambling operator. We haven’t independently confirmed that Teves really operates lotto or e-sabong, but, at least, that’s what Cam and Ang had alleged.
There are several characters who know how to wield power and influence by taking advantage of their closeness and connection with the high and mighty in Malacanang.
Their actuations, in most cases, have led to abuse of power.
Teves, whose son, Kurt Matthew, was recently caught together with his two bodyguards in a CCTV mauling a subdivision security guard in Parañaque City, is reportedly at odds with Atong Ang, who told a senate hearing recently that a group of e-sabong franchise holders was trying to sabotage his own e-sabong operation and plotting to kill him.
I met now 50-year-old Mayor Vitaly Klitschko of Kyiv, Ukraine in the World Boxing Council (WBC) Conventions in Tokyo in 2002, Moscow in 2003, and Manila in 2007.
He was then in his 30s and standing six feet and seven inches. I looked like a midget at five feet and nine inches in our photos together.
I also met some of the promoters and world champions from Russia when Ukraine and Russia weren’t yet at odds politically and militarily.
I also happened to referee in the past a WBF flyweight championship fight involving Russian dynamo Alexie Makmotov and Samson Dutchboygym.
I couldn’t forget how the Team Russia reacted when I stopped the fight by TKO in favor of Dutchboygym: both the manager and the trainer looked at me with firm faces (ohh, the Russians!).
I realized they weren’t mad at me after we had a group picture together.
Going back to Mayor Klitschko, he and brother, Wladimir, both former world heavyweight champions, have been in the frontline defending Ukraine from the Russian attackers.
“We understand it’s our land, we understand it’s our future, it’s our freedom,” Vitali explained in an interview with CNN. “We’re ready to fight for that, but we need support from (the) whole democratic world.”
“We need support and help from our allies, we need a lot and it’s almost never enough,” Wladimir added.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)