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Sep 28th
Home Sections Filipino-Veterans' Lobby The “Peddler on the Roof” of the Fil-Vets’ Lobby
The “Peddler on the Roof” of the Fil-Vets’ Lobby PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Filipino-Veterans' Lobby
Friday, 25 January 2008 16:00

Money is the world's curse.


Perchik is one of the characters in the Broadway 1971 musical, “Fiddler on the Roof.” The guest of honor (GH) in last night’s reception and fundraiser for a Filipino Veterans’ (FilVets’) lobby probably personified Perchik’s lament. The event’s host, Ms. Malou Mariano, invited me provided that I would bring only a smile on my face and that I would not ask any question after the GH’s presentation. I did better, as I purposely came in late and stayed in another room at the penthouse of an 11-storey condominium complex in Downtown Long Beach, California. I did not enter the room where the presentation was made until it ended.

“Fiddler on the Roof” is the Broadway hit with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. It is based on the book by Joseph Stein. The setting is in Tsarist Russia in 1905. The plot is about a poor Jewish peasant, who must contend with marrying off his three daughters while antisemitic sentiment threatens his home in pre-revolutionary Russia.

One could almost feel or even touch the building’s roof at the 11th-floor penthouse. The condo complex used to be the main accommodation for the Miss Universe beauty pageant when it was held in the City of Long Beach. Ms. Mariano is a Filipino-American owner of one of the condominium units in that complex. And she has been using its penthouse to host Filipino-American events.

When Ms. Malou ushered me to the other room, she introduced me to the GH and I shook hand with him. The GH is really a long-term acquaintance, as he used to reside also in Los Angeles. But I have been probably his number-one critic and his strategy for the FilVets’ lobby and fundraising schemes that fail to comply with the ATIC tenets. ATIC, as I coined, stands for accountability, transparency, integrity and credibility.

(Editor’s Note: To read more articles about the FilVets’ lobby, please click on this link

After our handshake, the GH turned his back from me and attended to the motley crowd of veterans and their scions. There were like 40 guests and party organizers. He was selling to them a piece of what he called a “FilVets’ lobby” memorabilia for $10 a pop. Ms. Malou was also helping the GH distribute membership forms for the GH’s American alliance for Filipino veterans. The membership is one-hundred greenbacks, supposedly for life.

(Editor’s Note: Please read Romeo P. Marquez’s account of how the membership fee of $100 paid by this editor to the said alliance never amounted to anything but a racket at this link US Congressman Hits Scam Artist Victimizing Filipino Veterans.)

This writer did not notice if the GH was selling also a necktie with the Stars-and-Stripes design. (He used to sell it anywhere from $15 to $25, depending on the crowd’s gullibility factor at his fundraisers).

Peddling not only lobby memorabilia but also vain hopes for our veterans.

The GH was peddling not only his memorabilia but also vain hopes for the veterans and their scions. Like the lady guest who asked the host if she could avail of her status as a daughter of a Filipino-American World War-II veteran to obtain permanent residency in the United States. She came to this country on a visitor’s visa. Ms. Malou referred her to another guest, Atty. Ed Anciano, who practices immigration law, and not to the GH. (I said to myself, “Good thinking, Malou,” because Attorney Anciano could tell her the truth about immigration petitions.) By the way, this writer saw Attorney Anciano fill up the alliance’s membership form and hand it together with a $100 bill to the host, who in turn passed it to the GH.

Perchik and Balance needed in managing lobby funds?

But as a son of a WW-II veteran, the GH’s peddling of memorabilia and membership in his alliance last night made me sad. To paraphrase the musical’s character Perchik, “Money is the lobbying world's curse.” Filipino-American self-proclaimed lobbyists go down to the level of peddlers because they do not have funds. The few resources of the Philippine government are spent mostly for pork barrel and Filipino veterans do not get even the equivalent of pork rinds. The Filipino Americans, even those who are sons and daughters of WWII veterans, refuse to donate money to the GH’s alliance and even to the National Alliance for Filipino Veterans’ Equity (NAFVE), as organized by the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA). Why? Both the alliance and the NaFFAA refuse to render accounting of the funds that they have raised for the lobby and other events that they held in the past.

Now the NaFFAA soap opera has a new episode, “Peddler on the Roof.”

And so, the soap opera that is now dubbed, “NaFFAA-ka-sakit, Kuya Eddie,” should have another episode. The new chapter in the soap opera might as well be called, “Peddler on the Roof.” The peddler has been working with the NaFFAA soap-opera characters for almost a decade now trying (in vain) to obtain pension and other benefits for Filipino WW-II veterans. Yes, pension and other benefits that even Caucasian veterans—who did not serve the US military for 20 years—do not receive by operation of law.

And finally, Ms. Malou requested me also not to criticize or even malign the name of the GH in my report about the event last night. I never refuse the request of any lady. See, I never called the GH by his real name. But of course, if you read Romy Marquez’s article, US Congressman Hits Scam Artist Victimizing Filipino Veterans, you will know who people are talking about. # # #


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Last Updated on Saturday, 26 January 2008 12:44

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