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Home Sections Filipino-Veterans' Lobby Why Peace Eludes Many Filipino Americans and their Associations
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Sections - Filipino-Veterans' Lobby
Sunday, 08 July 2007 03:03

 

Part 9 of the "FilVets’ Lobby" Series

A Biblical scholar was once quoted by my Cebu-based friend, Bobot Apit: "Perhaps the world is looking for peace where peace cannot be found; perhaps we are confusing peace with a quiet life. Quite possibly we think peace depends on external circumstances that have nothing to do with man himself. Peace comes from God and it is a gift of God that passes all understanding (Phil 4:7). It is granted only to men of goodwill (cf Luke 2:14) - to those who strive with the whole of their strength to live their lives in accordance with God’s Will . . ."

Many Filipino Americans associate peace to a comfortable and quiet life, if not an existence without controversy. Yes, a life without activists and advocates rocking the boat that is the status quo. Many of the founders and some former national executive officers (NEOs) of the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA) want nothing more than this writer to go quietly away and stop his crusade for reforms that is now on its eighth year. (Editor's Note: This article was written at least three years before the election of NEW NaFFAA National Chairman Eduardo Navarra in November 2010 in San Francisco, CA. The MabuhayRadio.com writers believe that Mr. Navarra is doing a good job and is earning the respect of many Filipino-American community leaders -- even those who have refused to join or re-join the NaFFAA.)

A reader sent this writer a personal note. The reader is obviously not my fan. The e-mail read: "Ang galing mo talaga manghiya ng kapwa Filipino. Do you really need to publicize the actions of the NaFFAA ‘crooks’ that you have (been) alleging (sic) about for many years now? You are only exhibiting the dirty linen of our community, especially now that you threaten to inform the members of the United States Congress about it. Your nickname should not be "Bobby" but ‘Rocky’ because you have been rocking the godd_mn boat for so long now."

Who Is Right?

T his reader’s reaction to this series of articles (read, exposés) brings to mind a recent posting in the Botomo@yahoogroups.com by Dr. Nelson A. Paguyo. He wrote: "With all the arguments and counter arguments I have a feeling that everyone is right, reasonable and rational in presenting and explaining the positions they have taken. Does it really matter who is right?

"It is impossible to change a person's mind once made up. No reasoning – logical as it may be – can change it unless one has an exceptionally open, accepting and flexible minded to admit and accommodate that the other is more logical, appropriate and correct."

On the other hand, a retired Filipino-American gentleman of an officer sent in also this query: "Are you also planning to get Eric Lachica to account for the hundreds of thousands of dollars he has collected from the poor veterans (4,000 of them as he claims) to pay for his expenses and personal upkeep. I don't know if you can do that as a non-member of the ACFV, as an /amicus curiae/, or ‘friend of the court’. The alternative of course is to find a disgruntled member of the ACFV in your area who may be willing to challenge Eric Lachica. 
 
"I met recently with Congressman Bob Filner. He asked about Eric Lachica, and he actually requested (journalist) Romy Marquez, who was present, to write something about it. Perhaps after Romy Marquez' expose' you and your group can ask the FBI or whichever appropriate government investigative agency to look into the matter, for the sake of Filipino veterans."

It seems that some people like the officer-gentleman are not content that this series merely exposes the corruption of some (former) NaFFAA NEOs. He wants me to go all out against the perceived crooked allies of the (former) NEOs.

The Poet-pundit’s Survey

All of these mundane matters and "boring" comments bring to mind the irreverent Fred Burce Bunao’s hilarious comments about the NaFFAA’s original answer to my demand for compliance with the ATIC (accountability, transparency, integrity and credibility) slogan. The NEOs said, "Do not mind Bobby Reyes for he is a crazy troublemaker out to destroy the federation." Mr. Bunao said that he conducted an informal survey and the results did not validate the NEOs’ allegation. The poet-pundit said that only one-third thought that Reyes is crazy but not a troublemaker. Another third said that Reyes is a troublemaker but not crazy. The final third said that Reyes is simply trouble to those who do not comply with his ATIC battle-cry.

The whole problem with the all the troubles, trials and tribulations in the NaFFAA is written in the Bible. According to Galatians 6:7: "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." And St. Luke wrote: "Peace is granted only to men of goodwill."

What are the synonyms of "Goodwill?" They are kindness, friendliness, helpfulness, benevolence, concern and care. How could some of the NaFFAA's former NEOs and their allies like Eric Lachica demonstrate, and much more earn, goodwill when they continuously refuse to account for fundraising proceeds that were meant to go to the care of the senior citizens and veterans of our community? How can they show that they were kind, friendly, helpful and benevolent to senior citizens of the Northside Community Center in San Jose, CA, when the NEOs illegally diverted city funds to bankroll the NaFFAA convention in August 2002? And the convention co-chairs, Ben Menor and Rodel Rodis, refuse to present a financial report to the public and even to the then-NaFFAA national chairperson, Alma Q. Kern? And they are that concerned about the welfare of our community?

Yes, "peace is granted only to men (and women) of goodwill." And especially in instances of criminal fraud and financial scams, forgiveness requires repentance on the part of the crooks and restitution of the amounts stolen (back) to the victims or to the public coffers as in the case of the City of San Jose.

N ow back to Eric Lachica and his American Coalition for Filipino Veterans (ACFV). This writer was himself a victim of the ACFV scam. During the convention of the Federation of Philippine-American Chambers of Commerce (www.fpacc.com) in South San Francisco, CA, in March 2002, several delegates, including this writer, gave during the workshop – in full view of the FPACC delegates – $100 each as life-time membership fee in the ACFV. We were not given any receipt, as we were told that an official receipt would be sent by Mr. Lachica’s headquarters in Washington, DC. We never heard again from the ACFV and/or Mr. Lachica. I sent several e-mails to Mr. Lachica and he never bothered to respond to me. This writer has personally interviewed some Filipino-American veterans in Los Angeles and they claimed that they had been contributing $10 to $20 per month per head to Mr. Lachica to fund his so-called lobbying activities in the District of Columbia. Some Filipino-American community leaders even bought the so-called "patriotic neckties" that Mr. Lachica has been selling during functions and events, supposedly to raise lobby funds. But so far, like the (former) NaFFAA NEOs, Mr. Lachica has produced not even a single financial report about his and the ACFV fundraising activities.

Yes, we all reap what we sow. The problem is that some of these (former) NaFFAA NEOs and supposed leaders like Mr. Lachica, to use a Tagalog phrase, "ay marunong lang magtanim ng sama ng loob." Yes, they only know how to plant the proverbial seeds of misconduct, heartache and misery.

I can write a nastier report of an exposé but today is Sunday. And my favorite monsignor, the Rev. Dr. Fred Vergara, would remind me again not to do it on Sabbath day. (As revised on Nov. 25, 2012.) # # #



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Last Updated on Sunday, 25 November 2012 22:00
 

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