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Jun 28th
Home Columns A Cup O' Kapeng Barako My Take on Jose Antonio Vargas, the Filipino TNT Pulitzer Prize Winner
My Take on Jose Antonio Vargas, the Filipino TNT Pulitzer Prize Winner PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - A Cup O' Kapeng Barako
Thursday, 30 June 2011 22:29


By Jesse Jose

A Cup O' Kapeng Barako 



I t's called stretching the truth. And stretching the truth is tantamount to deception. A falsehood. A blatant lie. 


So, yes indeed, let me point out that Jose Antonio Vargas, the Filipino illegal immigrant who won daw a Pulitzer Prize was NOT THE SOLE Pulitzer Prize winner for an investigative story that was written for The Washington Post.  For the truth of the matter is, Vargas was only a part of a team of reporters who won that Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for their coverage of the Virginia Tech shootings. These shootings, perpetuated by a student named Cho, an Asian immigrant, is the deadliest shooting rampage in a school campus in U.S. history.


Y'all know the story of Vargas, right?  His story was published in The New York Times and in other publications and on the Internet.  In summary, he came into this country ILLEGALLY, when he was 12 and never established legal status.  He kept that secret for 14 years -- all throughout high school and college, and while employed with a series of news organizations -- including The Washington Post, where he became part of a team of journalists , who then won a Pulitzer Prize for their investigative reportings on the Virginia Tech carnage.


Yes, Vargas was part of the team!  He was NOT the one and only who won this journalism prize for that story.


To omit that very important part of the story and mention only Vargas as the only one who won that prize IS like saying that the late Audie Murphy (yes, the actor) and the most-decorated soldier in World War II in the European Theater, single handedly defeated the German Nazis in the war there. 


Sure, Audie Murphy was brave and heroic and all that, but to say he single handedly won the war in Europe by himself, would be stretching, or distorting the truth! 


Same-same with this Vargas. For us Filipinos and Fil-Ams to say that Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize winner, without actually saying that he was PART OF THE TEAM who investigated the shootings and wrote the story, is tantamount to that Audie Murphy scenario above.


It's a stretch!  A lie!  A falsehood!


And, may I add, to place this guy, I mean, gay (he came out din daw as a bakling), in the league of Carlos P. Romulo as a Pulitzer Prize winner, is also a stretch! Gawd Almighty! Wala sa kalingkinan ni Romulo 'to!  Romulo was a Filipino god!  He was a genius. He was a hero. He was a soldier. He was a mentor and an inspiration to many Filipino writers, past and present.  He had a brilliant prolific pen.


It's sacrilegious to put Vargas in the league of Romulo! 


Vargas said that he was putting himself at risk to be deported back to the Philippines by publicly acknowledging his status as a TNT (tago ng tago) in vernacular Filipino, or "hide and hide" in Filipino English. Because he said it's important daw to highlight the plight of millions of illegal immigrants, well, just like him. Do I detect his true motive?


And, according to The Filipino Channel (TFC) of CBS/ABN, he's a hero for possessing the courage to come out of hiding, "to fight for immigration reforms"


May I say something about that? 


He is not fighting for immigration reforms. He's fighting America's immigration laws, taunting and challenging and perhaps, even giving the finger to law enforcement officers of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to arrest him.  He broke the law, over and over again ... and knowingly at that!  He deceived his employers.  He used fraudulent documents to get hired.  He moved from state to state.  He kept running away. 


And that's a courageous and heroic act? And that he should be dubbed as a present day Filipino hero for that? To me, Dear Readers, that's also a stretch.  First Pakyaw, the illiterate boxer, now Philippine lawmaker. 


Then, this TNT. I wanna puke. Homeland Security should arrest this TNT. No one should be above the law, Pulitzer Prize winner or not! 


My kind of a present day Filipino hero is Efren Penaflorida, the "pushcart" educator and winner of CNN's 2009 Hero of the Year.  That's my kind of a Filipino hero. I wonder what happened to him? Is he still teaching from his pushcart to the slum dwellers of Manila?  Did the Philippine government support his heroic endeavors?   


Vargas, from what I understand, has also started a group, called "Define American."  This group advocates the DREAM ACT.  This Act, as I've written before in one of my Kapeng Barako columns, titled The American Legion Opposes the DREAM Act – It's a Dream for Illegals, a Nightmare for America's Children," advocates free education, courtesy of us, American taxpayers, to children of illegal immigrants and young illegals of this country.  If you wish to read  that story, google or click:


The DREAM ACT is also a "stretch" of an act. Why give free money to illegals when there are so many deserving, young Americans of this country that need scholarship money? The DREAM Act should be primarily for young deserving Americans, NOT to young illegals of this country.


I don't really wanna sound like a "cranky, old uncle" in this story. There's a solution to Vargas's coming out as a TNT. As I told Ed Navarra, the present chairman of NaFFAA (he sent me that piece Vargas wrote in The New York Times), "Vargas should perhaps contact that immigration lawyer of TFC's Citizen Pinoy.  But then I heard his fees are astronomical. He might do it pro bono though, for the publicity.


"Or, he could contact President Obama and ask him how he was able to produce his fake birth certificate.  It might work. It may not.  Well, it worked for BHO. It might work for Vargas, too." 


Ed Navarra did not respond to my e-mail.  Oh well ...     


BTW, do y'all know that I also wrote a story in this column about the Virginia Tech shootings?  Check it out, if y'all don't believe me. Google or click:

A Crazy Carnage at Virginia Tech.  I didn't get a Pulitzer Prize for it though.  But that's okay.  I am no TNT, so I don't need that Prize to become legal in this country.  JJ 


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Last Updated on Monday, 08 August 2011 19:46
Comments (6)
1 Friday, 01 July 2011 14:06
Hi JJ, I get tons of email so i must have missed your query, what was the question? Anywiz I was asked to disseminate the NY Times article to the media so i included you because you are a plantsador(?), lahat pinaplantsa. During my Manila days there used to be a sign in Sta Ana: "PLANTSADOR, Ironing Service." Plantsa lang ng plantsa, walang laba....hahahahaaaa

2 Friday, 01 July 2011 14:08
Hey Ed,

Thanks for reading my story and for your comments. Yeah, you're right. That was me, the "PLANTSADOR" of Santa Ana. I used to own that little shop. But that business has grown. It's now all over the land. I now employ several plantsadors and plantsadoras. And I am now a "CHIEF," just like you.

I plan to open up a shop in Chicago. I'll need some good plantsadors. I heard NaFFAA has many good plantsadors and plantsadoras. I'll mail out several applications to you ... and if you don't mind, can you distribute them to your members on your next meeting?

BTW, ilan na ang members mo ngayon?


PS: I'll always remember what you taught me: LMFAO. Next to LOLO Bobby, you're my hero.
3 Saturday, 16 July 2011 15:13

You are indeed an “outlaw” in this country, we call America . Please do not take pride in being one. I am a Filipino like you, and I am deeply shamed with your brazenness and deviousness. Your actions in the past and in the present embarrass thousands of Filipino Americans who migrated to this country through honest, lawful ways.

America is not your “own” country as what you haughtily claim to be. She did not welcome you when you broke her borders. She does not embrace people like you who rigged themselves with fake, unlawful papers.

You are not an “American” as what you arrogantly claim to be and please do not be brazen enough to address Americans as your “fellow Americans”. Americans built their lives around respect for their laws and pursued their American dream under the aegis of truthfulness and not dishonesty. You are never one.

Your story is not “unique” as you claim to be. Your story has millions of authors – the millions of illegal immigrants who broke America ’s borders like you, the millions who bought fake identity papers like you, the millions like you who stole government benefits that they knew they were and are never entitled to.

America ’s immigration system is not “badly broken” as you claim to be. It is one of the finest in this planet. It is only because of unscrupulous people like you that makes it appear as broken. Jose, please respect our immigration system as we honestly did. Please stop breaking it and please do not encourage more people to break it.

You want to start a conversation on what should one do if one found out that one is undocumented. My answer to you Jose is that you go home to Manila and join the thousands of Filipinos who are patiently waiting for their “call of welcome” from the U.S. Embassy in Manila . I challenge you to do that, and when you have done that, only then can we start an honest conversation and debate.

I applaud you for being a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. But I ask you not to selfishly exploit your feat to immune yourself from being an outlaw. Journalism is always about truthfulness and never spinning it to one’s personal advantage, so that fairness, the rule of law, and justice will stand supreme.

You know your own reason why you stepped out of the shadow only now. You know that Obama is hard pressed to get re-elected and that he will push for the passage of the Dream Act, no matter what, to win the Hispanic votes. You stepped out of the shadow when you think the landscape is about to favor you.

Jose, what you are doing is not journalism and candor. It is opportunism and deceit.

4 Saturday, 16 July 2011 15:15
From: SALVAHEY2 < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

My dear Jose Vargas:

There is not even the slightest legal basis to call yourself an American. I agree wholeheartedly with the accompanying reaction of Nick Vicera. Read below his email. The Unclean Hands Doctrine requires you to be devoid of any wrong doing when filing a lawsuit (or making a complaint against anybody- individual or State).

Saving American Lifestyle by Virtue of my Ability to Honor and/or Embarrass You. (SALVAHEY)
5 Saturday, 16 July 2011 15:16
Hey Salvahey2,

Long time, no hear. Buhay ka pa ba? Biro lang. I am responding to your email not to tangle with you. Just want to let you know that I, too, wholeheartedly agree with you and with Nick Vicera. Mr. Vicera wrote a mighty fine reaction to Jose's letter to Romeo. I also wrote something about Jose Antonio Vargas in my column, A Cup O' Kapeng Barako, titled "My Take on Jose Antonio Vargas, the Filipino TNT Pulitzer Prize Winner."

If you wish to read it, please click this:,theFilipinotntpulitzerprizewinner.

Take care now, Salvahey2.

Jesse Jose
Seattle, WA
6 Sunday, 17 July 2011 11:45
Jesse Jose,

Yeah, I'm still alive and kicking. Always ready whenever there is something to be straightened out to protect the generally rightful matters or issues for the American people. My mission is to put both the recalcitrant and the ignorant in their proper places. I cannot tolerate them. I don't have any room for these people who, because of their limited or lacking in intellect, think they have the wisdom and capacity, not even knowing that what they have inside their "coco (kuko) nuts" are the good-for-nothing ashes. Abo, Kapeng Barako!. Talagang abo lamang sila. Isn't that pitiful? I need to embarrass or chastise them so they will learn an eternal lesson. Jose Antonio Vargas comes close to that abo!

Devilishly yours,

Salvahey2. (pronounced Salvaje ito!)

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