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Jun 25th
Home Sections Canadian Happenings Is Tobias Enverga, Jr. a Filipino Embarrassment at the Canadian Senate?
Is Tobias Enverga, Jr. a Filipino Embarrassment at the Canadian Senate? PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Carlos Padilla. guest writer   
Monday, 16 September 2013 17:37

The News UpFront: (TOP STORY) as of Monday, September 16, 2013 

If there's anything that could be said of Tobias Enverga's performance as a member of the Senate of Canada, it is that he quite succeeded in painting Filipinos in a not-so-pleasant light. In a year, he has made a spectacle of himself, not to our honor but to our horror! The very first guest writer of this online news, Carlos Padilla writes his impressions and past experience with Enverga as a fundraiser and relates his encounters in many attempts to upgrade the Filipino profile to a more respectable level. Enverga could've have done it so easily. But the first time he opened his mouth, he thought the Senate was a Filipino nightclub where he pitches that Filipino Canadians are "the best at karaoke".
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The Filipino Spectacle in Canada's Senate 

Guest Writer

“Filipino Canadians are known for their hard work, dedication, warm hearts and, most of all, for being the best at karaoke". - Excerpt from Tobias Enverga Jr.'s speech to the Senate of Canada.

T ORONTO - Deleting the part “and, most of all, for being the best at karaoke", the remaining phrases are commonly used by politicians to their Filipino audience. Either these politicians have the same speech writer or they have no interest knowing their Filipino constituents. They have no time for us. They have no interest in knowing us. The question is why?

Is it because we are contented being known as hard workers and hospitable? Are we trying to ingratiate ourselves to them by giving long and deafening applause whenever they heap on us this mundane and repetitive accolade?
Reading the first speech our Senator Tobias (Jun) Enverga gave to the Senate, the curling of my blood was interrupted by a wishful thought - I hope Romy Marquez shared his Breaking News with the Prime Minister’s Office. (Full text at:
The article he wrote on Senator Tobias Enverga’s speech should be a hint to the Prime Minister that this appointee to the Senate will not deliver the Filipino votes. Unless, unless the Liberal or NDP put up an Enverga clone for a candidate. 

After reading Romy Marquez’s commentary and I having calmed down already, my thoughts drifted to Senator Enverga’s supporters. How would they take this speech introducing our community to Canada as the best in karaoke? Is that all we’ve got? (Full story:
We were once referred to as nation of caregivers, exporter of nannies and domestic workers; and now from the mouth of our own beloved (to some) senator, came out this karaoke gem. How would the elitist, the intellectuals and the sincere supporters of the senator react? Would they trivialize the speech? Or will they cower and curse?
I recall the conversation I had in January with one of the leaders of the petitioners who was asking for my support. The petition was to censor Balita (Toronto's largest Filipino newspaper) and Romy Marquez. I asked this leader if Jun Enverga is really known in their household. The reply was “not really”. (Related video at:
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“If I tell you what I know, would you invite me to your group’s get together so I can share with them what I know about Jun Enverga?” “Why, what do you know about Jun?” was the surprised question. (Full story at
I was not interrupted, not even once, while I reported to this signature-seeker the events surrounding the fund raising project Jun Enverga held in 2000. (Related story at:

Kalayaan Cultural Community Centre, the intended beneficiary of that fund raising, never saw the trace of that money. Established in 1983, KCC is the umbrella organization of Filipino associations in Mississauga. 

When I finished my reporting, a subdued voice muttered “I did not know that". Encouraged, I pressed on to be invited. “Will you invite me now to your group?” 

After a pause, the reply was “we do not want to be identified as supporters of the Envergas”. “Our petition is for civility in reporting”. I tried to be persistent and be invited to meet with the petitioners. “There will be a time for that”, was the quick reply.  
The reporting style of Mr. Marquez on Envergate, as the Inquisitors call it, did not change at all. It is still succinct and on target. His choice of vocabulary remains the same. (Related story at:
I agree with civility in reporting. However, what about civility in addressing the august Senate chamber? What about an uplifting speech for the downhearted Filipinos, downhearted for having Mr. Enverga for their representative, or a speech appeasing to non-Enverga worshippers.
I am sure the Filipino community deserves recognition more than “hard work, dedication and warm hearts” as described by the senator. I am sure the senator is capable of composing a speech that would uplift his community; a speech that befits his office and will enhance the image of the Filipinos in Canada. 

I am afraid we were pushed lower in the scale of respectability amongst the other ethnic group after the speech. (Related video at: " mce_href="/" style="font-family: arial, helvetica;" mce_style="font-family: arial, helvetica;">).
Points to amuse: When the senators in the audience clap and say Hear! Hear! are they cheering their own kind? Are they welcoming their brother to the flock - for having the same feather? Can they see or judge the feather of their new member within a year? Or Hear! Hear! means yes! yes!  we heard about you from Balita? Also, why do we address the appointed senators Honorable?
Filipinos have a strong sense of pride. A few years ago, the Philippines was crowned "Most Corrupt Government or Country in the World". Despite this, I did not notice any significant waning of our pride. However, I do not remember any of the Filipino newspaper in the GTA lifting a pen to put up a defense of our pride. 

If indeed not one of the Filipino publishers disputed that insult to our nation, the crown awarded to us was probably deserved and there is no defence against truth.   
Yes we are a proud people!  We pride ourselves coming from a country in Asia with the highest literacy in the region. To some, the degree of pride is commensurate to the level of education acquired. A few college dropouts in the Philippines proclaim themselves to be degree holders without schooling here. They go to that extent of lying as if a college degree is the center of their life. You can call that any name but never "pride".
Others, believing they are elite, belittle their compatriots with improper grammar. I was one of those vilified by a Filipino newspaper for my wrong grammar. I would have sulked and hid had that publisher also criticized the French-Canadian politicians whose accent and grammar were worst than most Filipinos. I consider that failure to criticize a silent admission of inferiority. 
Talking about Filipino pride, my thoughts flirted back to the incidents in the past wherein Filipinos manifested their pride.
In the early 80’s, Filipinos were front and centre in the pages of Toronto Sun. The headline screamed “Filipinos Eat Dogs”. Some Filipinos got into a fight because of that.  

My own son, barely thirteen that time, on his way home one afternoon was confronted by another teenager on a bike. This teenager blocked my son’s path and asked, “Are you Filipino?” Upon my son’s “yes” answer, the teenager jeered at him by “you Flips eat dog”. My son returned the favor with non-stop punches fearing he could be pummeled himself.
When he got home and I confirmed some Filipinos do eat dog, he was sorry for punching the guy “for nothing” he mused.
When my son punched the boy that insulted him, it was my son’s Filipino Pride punching.
A few years ago, the Toronto Police Department made the mistake in announcing the suspected rapist at the park was a Filipino. The Filipino community did not take that plea of the police for leads. FCT came to the rescue and defended the Filipino pride against a racist statement. If my memory serves me right, the police eventually apologized.

When Linda Javier “scolded” the police officer, it was her Filipino Pride yelling.
On February 2, 2013, I published in Balita my article exposing Senator Tobias  Enverga. I received emails and phone calls about my article. (Full story at:

What surprises me was only two souls asked me about the accuracy of my exposé.  One was Jun Enverga’s cousin, the other sounded like a lawyer based on her line of questioning.
When the lawyer-like questions were asked of me, it was a Filipino heart asking for clarity on my exposé. Her letter was amicable and full of compassion for the senator.
When the cousin asked the questions, it was the blood talking.
Friends, as a result of Senator Enverga’s speech, more Filipinos need uplifting. I need more of Filipino-Pride-Punching, Yelling, and Compassionate emails. Lift me up for there is worst to come now that this scandal could be elevated to the national level. Our pride might be in question again.  

Why are politicians not interested to know us? The answer to the question is simple: we are not respected!
(This Currents & Breaking News may be posted online, broadcast or reprinted upon request by interested parties. Permission by the author or the editor must be obtained before any re-posting online or re-publication in print or re-broadcast. Copyright by Carlos Padilla, Guest Writer, and Romeo P. Marquez, Editor, Philippine Village Voice, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Volume 7, Issue no. 64, September 16, 2013. Email at: or

Other stories for the mainstream available at:

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Volume 7, Issue No. 64
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Last Updated on Monday, 16 September 2013 17:53

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