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Sep 17th
Home Sections Filipino-Veterans' Lobby Col. Monteyro Says Lachica's Allegation Is a 'Shameless Claim'
Col. Monteyro Says Lachica's Allegation Is a 'Shameless Claim' PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Filipino-Veterans' Lobby
Saturday, 28 July 2007 12:14
The News UpFront: (TOP STORY) as of Saturday, 28 July 2007 
 
Now that proposed legislation to extend benefits to Filipino veterans has hurdled both House and Senate committees, the credit-grabbing spree among pretenders and legitimate advocates has begun. The first among these was floated in San Francisco by, of all people, a lobbyist recently denounced for a scam.

Filam Lobbyist Grabs Credit for Veterans Campaign in Congress

By ROMEO P. MARQUEZ

An Arlington, Virginia, lobbyist denounced earlier for bilking Filipino veterans has quickly grabbed credit for the initial successes in Congress in the now-widespread campaign to gain full equity benefits for the veterans and their spouses.

The Philippine News, the San Francisco-based broadsheet long identified as a mouthpiece of certain interest groups, said in a story headlined "Veteran's son shepherds bill to legislation" that Eric Lachica "has done almost anything x x x to get attention for the Filipino veterans . . . "

The story in the latest issue of the weekly newspaper has reportedly sparked protests in Washington, DC, and in Southern California where a huge number of veterans resides.

Col. Romy Monteyro, adviser to the Filipino World War II Veterans of San Diego County, said "it is unfair" to say that Lachica was solely responsible for bringing the attention of the veterans issues to Congress.

"More than grossly unfair is his shameless claim that the current gains of the equity movement, more specifically the twin victories in the Senate and House Veterans Affairs Committee, should be credited to his supposedly 'relentless lobbying'!," he says.

Monteyro enjoys the full trust and confidence of Congressman Bob Filner, chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, who refers to him as his "dancing partner" in the ongoing campaign.

It was Filner who denounced Lachica for his activities that Filner said amounted to a scam by collecting monies from veterans and from the 4,000 members of his American Coalition for Filipino Veterans and not accounting for them.

The Philippine News confirmed the allegation, saying in its story that "a community leader told PN that Lachica indeed collects money from veterans, but has yet to provide a transparent accounting of how the money was being spent".

This reporter has emailed Lachica a set of new questions but as of this writing, he has not responded. One of the questions was about the amount of money he collects.

"We are not, however, bound by law to open our books to just about anybody, especially our critics, or to provide accounting of our funds," Lachica was quoted by PN as saying. "Only ACFV members are welcome to review and examine our financial records," he reportedly stated.

Why the PN published a story that hugely glorifies Lachica at a time when his integrity was being assailed, and that which consequently demeans the official advocates from the Philippines and the United States Congress was unclear.

Knowledgeable sources, however, claimed that both the sources and the writers of the story are not exactly beyond reproach. PN editors could not be immediately reached for comment.

Through the years, Philippine News has a historic reputation of being a notorious propaganda machine of its founder, Alex Esclamado, to advance his personal cause. The paper also became a mouthpiece of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) that Esclamado also founded.

In the meantime, Monteyro explained that real credit goes back to the people who had worked hard long before Lachica's ACFV got involved. Among them were Col. Emmanuel de Ocampo, Col. Simeon Medalla, Brig. Gen. Marcos Agustin, Col. Ernesto Golez, Col. Francisco Quesada and Col. Edwin Ramsey.

In addition, advocacy groups also contributed to the effort, namely: the Filipino WWII Veterans of San Diego founded by the late Commander Resty Supnet and now led by Commander Manuel Braga; the National Network for Veterans Equity led by San Francisco-based lawyer Lourdes Tancinco; the Veterans Equity Center chaired by Luisa Antonio and the recently-formed National Alliance for Veterans Equity.

"All the previous Philippine ambassadors to the US, from the legendary Carlos P. Romulo to the present have also been involved, plus past and present chiefs of the Office of Veterans Affairs in DC, prominent among which is retired Brigadier General Tagumpay Nanadiego, a Battle of Bataan and Death March survivor," Monteyro said.

Monteyro's being publicly acknowledged as Filner's "dancing partner" has enraged a number of "johnnies-come-lately" in the campaign. In its press release, for example, the NAFVE had omitted any mention of Monteyro.

"To claim that he (Lachica) has kept the campaign for full equity alive is another lie," says Monteyro, and forthwith names sponsors in both chambers of Congress like Senators Daniel Akaka and Daniel Inouye and Congressmen Bob Filner, Darrel Issa, Randy Cunningham and Mike Honda, among others.

BREAKING NEWS -
Issue No. 49 NEWS WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOR

A community service of San Diego's Philippine Village Voice (PhilVoiceNews@aol.com or at 619.265.0611) for the information and better understanding of the public.



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Last Updated on Sunday, 03 February 2008 06:29
 

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