Tuesday, August 31, 2010


August 31, 2010

Mr.Momar Visaya
Asian Journal
5 Penn Plaza, Ste. 1932
New York, NY 10001

Dear Mr. Editor:

Your article on the Benigno Aquino Triangle that appeared last week caught my attention due to an unfortunate but persistent omission of a very important historical fact.

The question is: Who initiated this project and how this vacant public lot came to be named as BENIGNO AQUINO TRIANGLE?

Because I have first hand knowledge about this Filipino community project and a direct participant in the passage of a New York law naming a public triangle after a Filipino, let me help you in providing the significant historical origin of this New York park named in honor of the assassinated former Philippine senator Benigno Aquino, Jr. who died fighting for justice, freedom, and democracy.

First of all, the naming of the Triangle did not happen in 1986 because of an “NYC Council Resolution.” The Resolution allowed the construction of the concrete marker and not the naming of the lot after Aquino.

The Benigno Aquino Triangle is a product of a local law introduced by former Queens Councilman Sheldon Leffler and co-sponsored by fellow council members, namely Ward, Povman, Foster, Dibrienza, Crispino, Eisland, Greitzer, Messinger, Michels, O’Donovan and Wooten and passed by the New York City Council on September 23, 1986. Former Mayor Ed Koch approved and signed the Local Law 42 of 1986 known as the BENIGNO AQUINO TRIANGLE.

Prior to the passage of this law, in accordance to council rules and procedures, I, Gonzalo M. Policarpio, Jr. as the representative of the Filipino community and member of the Mayor’s Ethnic Advisory Council passed through a public hearing conducted by the Committee on Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs on September 5, 1986 to justify the legislation in honor of a Filipino martyr and answered questions from the media. On the side of the Philippine government, the late Philippine Ambassador to the United Nations, Salvador P. Lopez, testified before the Committee.

I also secured the approval of the Filipino Association in Hollis, Queens then headed by Jacinto Tiamsic , president and Procopio Carlay, vice president. Both Filipino leaders also submitted the approval of the Community Board who has jurisdiction over the area.

During the signing ceremony of the BENIGNO AQUINO TRIANGLE Law on October 9, 1986 by then Mayor Koch at the City Hall Blue Room, I invited Mr. Procopio Carlay to be in attendance as the representative of the Filipino Association in Hollis. Pictures of the signing ceremony as well as the unveiling ceremony of the public sign, Benigno Aquino Triangle that was attended by former Philippine Consul General Francisco “King” Rodrigo and local New York politicians were published by Filipino newspapers such as FILIPINO REPORTER and PHILIPPINE NEWS.

In a press release authored by former Councilman Sheldon Leffler, he stated that in February, 1986, he was approached by Gonzalo Policarpio Jr who is also an area resident, about the wishes of the city’s Filipino community to commemorate the memory of the late senator.

The emergence of the group BENIGNO AQUINO TRIANGLE FOUNDATION came much later when Filipino residents around the area where the sign stood decided to pool their resources and establish a permanent marker.

Mr. Carlos Caramanzana, an active resident in the area, called me to inform that a certain Dr. Concepcion Quiambao was interested in raising funds to construct a concrete marker in place of the steel post bearing the Aquino Triangle sign. I said OK.

For more than twenty years that the leadership of the Foundation has been hosting ceremonial events at the Triangle, I finally received the only invitation in 2008 from Ms. Lydia Bunag of FAHSI to join a religious mass to be held at the area. Luckily she was given the privilege to coordinate the events during that time and good for me.

I am doing this summary of events because of the silence about the Triangle’s real origin condoned by responsible Filipino media, responsible Philippine Consulate officials, and responsible Filipino leaders.

Here’s my question: Are they scared to antagonize a presumed “friend or relative of Cory Aquino” as the lady said if credit is given where credit is due? This has lingered for more than twenty years.

Enough of injustice, deception, greed, theft, and covetousness. These were not the reasons Ninoy Aquino died for. How can an honest human being enjoy a credit that does not belong to him or her for more than twenty years?


Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio

Copy of Benigno Aquino Triangle Law
Copy of Councilman Sheldon Leffler’s Letter to President Corazon Aquino
Copies of newspaper clippings

Friday, August 27, 2010

By Gonzalo "Jun" Policarpio


In any hostage situation, there is no guarantee of success. The fate of the hostages depends upon chance, luck, sudden change of mind of the hostage taker, or via a miracle from God. The mind of any hostage-taker borders on insanity or to a lesser degree, irrationality.

There are a variety of reasons why an individual or group would decide to hold another individual or group hostage such as political, personal, religious, or just an act of terrorism to pursue a goal.

In 1972, eight Israeli Olympic athletes died in the hands of Palestinian terrorists during the Munich Olympics. West German authorties tried their best to rescue the hostages but failed.

In 1979, the whole American nation was held hostage by militant Iranian radicals under the command of the Iranian religious fanatic leader Khomeini when they rushed to the Embassy compound in Tehran and captured 66 American officials and employees. This hostage crisis preoccupied half of American President Carter's term of office. Carter's failure to get the release of all the hostages led to his disgrace in the eyes of the electorate. HIs successor, Ronald Reagan, was able to achieve Carter's goal of a complete release that catapulted the Republican president as their savior in the eyes of the American voters.

I sincerely believe that nobody wants the hostages killed in any scenario. But during the hostage negotiations, things can change suddenly without warning. There is only a very, very thin line about to disappear that divides the hostage taker's mind between sanity and insanity. That is the nature of the sensitive human brain when put under intense stress, pressure, and perhaps a whisper from the devil.

The Manila hostage situation a few days ago where nine Hong Kong tourist were fatally shot by the hostage-taker, a dismissed Manila police offficer, is typical of a scenario when the hostage-taker lost his mind and decided to take his hostages with him to death.

As I watched the television coverage, the Manila authorites tried their best to avoid any tragedy. It took them a day-long of negotiations to satisfy the wishes of the hostage-taker. Not one of them, even when they decided to begin the assault, desired the death of any hostage. The goal of the assault was to take the hostage-taker out dead or alive to save any surviving hostages.

In any hostage negotiation, there is no guarantee that all the hostages will be saved. Some may be released and some may be killed.

Back to the Manila hostage situation, events may turn out differently such as the sudden change of mind of the hostage taker's brother telling his brother not to compromise. The Manila authorities used him in the negotiation believing that he would be able to persuade his brother to give up.

The Manila Mayor who ordered his removal from the premises was right. The hostage taker's brother became a liability, instead of an asset. But here's the unforeseen event: he tried to avoid being taken to police headquarters by running away towards where the media people were stationed yelling for help. Television cameras caught him being collared by his fellow police officers. And this scene was viewed by his brother, the hostage taker, inside the tourist bus' television monitor.

On top of this unwholesome event for him, the hostage taker got upset with the document from the Ombudsman, the Philippine government's prosecuting agency, which he expected would give him back his job.

I surely think these two events caused the hostage taker's mind to run berserk and started shooting at his hostages.

Now tell me, who's to blame for the death of the hostages? My good Filipino senators making an inquiry into the failure of the hostage negotiation, blame the devil who whispered to the hostage taker's ears to go for broke.

Let me give you a piece of my mind in dealing with any hostage situation: neutralize the hostage-taker when the chance permits before any negotiation starts for the hostage-taker's humanity has already started to deteriorate.

Friday, August 20, 2010

By Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio


Vivid video images of a robbery suspect being brutally tortured by a police officer in a Manila Police Precinct may conveniently come out as a good argument for Filipinos illegally staying in the United States who would think of filing for asylum, withholding of removal and protection under the Geneva Convention against Torture. The poor detainee was shown on video completely naked on the ground being whipped by another person who was also caught in the act of pulling with a string the male prisoner’s penis.

Fear of Torture is one of the valid grounds for granting an alien the benefit of staying in the United States indefinitely. The United States government has been very strict in condemning any act of torture even against terrorists.

Torture of prisoners and detainees is widely used in China, in Latin America, and other authoritarian countries as reported in the annual U.S. State Department Human Rights Report. It is very hard to believe that it can happen to a democracy-loving and Christian country like the Philippines.

Yes, it’s true that some members of the New Police Department one time tortured an African-American detainee by shoving a toilet bowl plunger into his anus. But American justice moved quickly. The involved lawmen were punished severely while the torture victim received millions of dollars for punitive damages. He is now a multi-millionaire living in Florida.

I just hope that justice under the Aquino administration will move quickly by prosecuting the torturers, punish them severely, and provide appropriate payment of monetary damages to the victim.

I expect to hear about this Filipino torture victim as a future multi-millionaire living in Serendra 1 in Taguig City. He does not need to come to the United States and apply for asylum.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

By Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio


Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino captured the imagination of the poor Filipino masses as their “knight in shining armor” and agreed to hoist him from his boring Senate seat as their leader. According to generally accepted estimates, about 80% of the total Philippine population belong to the impoverished segment. So after the smoke cleared out from the recent May 10 presidential elections, Noynoy, the only son of the popular former president Cory and the assassinated anti-Marcos freedom fighter, Ninoy, won the biggest margin of victory in the history of Philippine elections mainly because of the poor.

Noynoy’s election victory fever got hotter with the masses when he refused to use the siren in driving through traffic like any other Pinoy commuter.

Like any other story, there is always the sunny side and the cloudy one.

What has the potential to prolong the cloudy side in the early days of the popular Aquino presidency is the case of the Hacienda Luisita, a 6,435 hectare plantation estate owned by the Cojuangco Family that is even much larger than Makati and Pasig combined.

The story of this Hacienda already has a tragic episode: several poor farmers died of gunshots while airing their grievances during protest demonstrations. And now the farmers are still complaining of unfulfilled promises from the hacienda owners such as their right to own the small farms they till in compliance with the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program initiated by former president Cory, Noynoy’s mother.

Noynoy Aquino indeed however has the potential to become a great Filipino president and leader. Here’s the right time at the right place to do it by just following the law - the Agrarian Reform law.

Isn’t this much nobler than following the traffic lights of MetroManila?


Friday, August 06, 2010

By Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio


If it’s true that Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson had nothing to do with the Dacer-Corbito double murder according to a government witness for the prosecution who turned the tables against Lacson’s accusers, then Lacson missed an opportunity to be on the level of two famous national heroes, Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio. Philippine history will tell that both of these heroes were convicted and executed under false charges. Did not Jesus Christ suffer the same fate?

It is greed and covetousness plus vengeance that can move a person or group to set up their target or buy false witnesses to accuse their common enemy of crimes that were not committed. That character trait originated from Satan himself.

I would suggest to Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to pass a law making individuals who maliciously file false charges against another as a criminal act punishable for the same penalty if the person would be found guilty of the false charges..

Anyway, Senator Lacson by evading the Arroyo government’s warrant for his arrest clearly decided not to be dead hero.

Here comes now a legislative proposal from a newly-elected senator to re-instate the death penalty.

To kill an innocent is definitely worse than to detain a hardcore criminal.

There is no more hope to resurrect a dead innocent; yet there’s still some hope for a murderer to repent for his sins and be upgraded to a person like some former convicts who now carry a Bible and preach the Word of God.