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Feb 07th
Home Community Civil Rights Democracy Is Alive and Well in Sorsogon Province
Democracy Is Alive and Well in Sorsogon Province PDF Print E-mail
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Communities - Civil Rights
Monday, 12 May 2008 02:06

A group of Sorsogon Province residents has revitalized an anti-graft-and-corrupt-practices advocacy movement they registered as the “Sorsogon Crusade for Good Government, Inc.” The movement is popularly known as "Cruzada." It was formed three years ago and it is now led by Joesan Gabarda, who maintains residences in Sorsogon City and Detroit, Michigan.

The Cruzada aims to eradicate graft and corruption in the bureaucracy by providing the people an effective means of exposing and investigating such practices in the province. It promises also to help in sustaining the prosecution of erring public officials.


Right now, the Cruzada has elevated complaints with the Sandiganbayan (Filipino office of the Ombudsman) against Sorsogon Governor Sally Lee for alleged corrupt practices. The complaints are pending and are being followed up. The Cruzada leaders said that it might be possible to petition for the recall of Governor Lee and other provincial officials if their complaints lead to the prosecution and trial of the said officials.


The movement was organized in 2004 shortly after the presidential elections. The Cruzada has embarked on a mission to ensure an honest-and-efficient public service free from discrimination. It advocates the upholding of the highest degree of accountability and transparency among public officers and employees.


"After having been exposed to corruption from Spanish era to the martial-law years, Filipinos seemed to have embraced it as a way of life. Most of them commit crime without even knowing that what they are doing is a corrupt act," says Carlos M. Reyes, one of the Cruzada's trustees and concurrent vice chairman.


To rid itself of political opportunists, the Cruzada has confined its membership to persons who are not holding any elective position or persons related, either by consanguinity or affinity, to the 4th civil degree to any elected public official.


In addition to these requirements, the Cruzada automatically disqualifies from participating in its activities any member who has filed a certificate of candidacy for any local or national election. Any member is deemed automatically resigned upon filing his/her certificate of candidacy.


The Cruzada's officers are; Joesan Gabarda (chairman of the Board of Trustees); Carlos M. Reyes (vice chairman); Atty. Joven Laura (president); and Atty. Oscar Deri (executive vice president). The Board of Trustees has the following members: Atty. Isagani Ocampo; Atty. Augusto Cubias, Jr.; Judge Rafael Estuye; Judge Jose Ernacio and Judge Edmundo Escalante; Tobias Domo; Ret. Col. Frilles and Judge Haile Frivaldo. A replacement will soon be named for Judge Frivaldo who just passed away recently.


Atty. Augusto Cubias, Jr., and former Judge Ernacio of Barcelona town were concurrently elected vice presidents for the first and second congressional districts respectively.


The Executive Committee for Legal Affairs is chaired by former Judge Escalante and co-chaired by Atty. Isagani Ocampo while the Committee on Media Affairs is headed by radio broadcaster Joey Gois.


Municipal chapters were likewise created and are headed by chapter presidents. Former vice mayor Atty. Albino Guyala III was elected chapter president for Bulan town, former Judge Estuye for Gubat and Jesus Frayna for Sta. Magdalena town.


Atty. Guyala said that he would duplicate the Cruzada's organization structure in Bulan town. He then named Sorsogon Newsweek Associate editor Roy Gersalla as interim chapter secretary and Rodolfo Gogolin as vice president until the regular set of officers is elected.


Also elected during the reorganization were Aristeo Lastica as treasurer and Ms. Seville Tayam as secretary.


Joesan Gabarda retired as a Business Services Consultant-Procurement and Logistics officer at Daimler-Chrysler in 2002. His former employer is now known as Chrysler LLC.


Mr. Gabarda was previously a member of the Board of Trustees of the New Detroit Coalition in Michigan, where he served a four-year term. He is also a member of the National Press Club-USA, Chicago (Illinois) chapter. He is also a past president of the Filipino American Political Association of Michigan, aside from being a charter member of the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA) National and NaFFAA Region 3 (Midwest) chapter.


In the Bicol Region, Mr. Gabarda served as president of the Rotary Club of Legazpi Central in Legazpi City, Province of Albay. He is also a vice chairman of the Sorsogon Provincial Tourism Council.


Editor’s Note: This article was finalized after a telephone interview with Mr. Gabarda, who provided also this website with a copy of the SORSOGON NEWSWEEK (of Bulan, Sorsogon Province), where the article, “Sorsogon anti-graft group revitalizes crusade,” was published. It was written by Roy A. Gersalla.


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Last Updated on Monday, 12 May 2008 02:44

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