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Oct 26th
Home Sections NaFFAAgate Loida Lewis Refuses to Account for Fil-Am Donations to Noynoy Campaign Kitty and Calls Bobby Reyes a “Fool”
Loida Lewis Refuses to Account for Fil-Am Donations to Noynoy Campaign Kitty and Calls Bobby Reyes a “Fool” PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - NaFFAAgate
Written by Bobby M. Reyes   
Thursday, 09 September 2010 11:01

 

Part Two of the “Butanding Brouhaha” Series

 

He/she who debates with a fool is a bigger fool—Sorsoganon adage

 

T hus, Atty. Loida Nicolas-Lewis tells a variation of the said adage from her home province of Sorsogon to Chicago-based journalist Joseph G. Lariosa. Mr. Lariosa hails from Sorsogon’s Donsol town, the home of the “butanding” (whale shark). She said also in an e-mail to Mr. Lariosa that she need not render an accounting of the donations her group solicited from Filipino Americans for the Noynoy Aquino-Mar Roxas campaign kitty. In short, Ms. Loida does not want to dignify Bobby Reyes' query about the accounting of the Noynoy-Mar campaign fundraisers that she spearheaded. After all, he (Reyes) is a "fool," Attorney Lewis says by way of a defense.

 

Editor’s Notes: Since Atty. Lewis and Bobby Reyes both hail from Sorsogon City, this series is named after the “butanding,” as an honor and tribute to Mr. Lariosa, who frequently mentions the whale shark in his writings. The use of the “butanding” is appropriate, as the Fil-Am fundraising for Noynoy-Mar slate now smells like a hackneyed two-day-old fish. Here is an example of Mr. Lariosa’s reference to the whale shark:

 Georgia (and Butanding and Abaca) On My Mind

 

B ut Attorney Lewis does not still get it, as she has not been getting it since the day the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA) was founded in 1997. The issues of the ATIC are not debatable topics. ATIC, as I coined in 2000 means “accountability, transparency, integrity and credibility.”

 

The NaFFAA national executive officers (NEOs) – even during the two terms of Mrs. Lewis as national chairperson from 2002 to 2006 – have refused to present financial reports despite the fact that the NaFFAA is a public-benefit entity.

 

Nobody accuses Loida Nicolas-Lewis of stealing a single cent from the NaFFAA or from the Noynoy-Mar Campaign fundraisers in the United States. She is that rich, in fact, she is filthy rich. But why is she so allergic to do an accounting of the financial proceeds of the various fundraisers that her federation and clique have been doing all these years?

 

Mrs. Lewis Refused to Investigate the Menorgate

 

A month after her election as the NaFFAA national chair in San Jose, California, during the federation’s convention in August 2002, I had more-than an hour’s telephone conversation with my “Manay Loida.” The call was arranged by then NaFFAA Region I chair, Rudy Nicolas (not related to Mrs. Lewis). She is my childhood friend and my father, Dominador, used to be the lawyer of Ms. Loida’s dad, Francisco Nicolas. During our telephone conversation, I warned my favorite “manay” that the Host Committee for that San Jose convention diverted funds from the NaFFAA sponsors and the City of San Jose to personal use. She refused to believe me. But I was proven right. The convention chair, Ben Menor, was sued later by the City of San Jose and the District Attorney of Santa Clara County for civil and criminal fraud, respectively. Mr. Menor chose to plead “No Contest,” which in legal parlance is the equivalent of a guilty plea. To read about the Menorgate in the NaFFAAgate section of this website, please just click on this link, http://www.mabuhayradio.com/naffaagate/

 

The Menorgate and the Ballygate Scandals prompted me to dub Ms. Lewis as the “Snow White(wash)” and her inner circle in the NaFFAA as her “Seven Dwarfs.” To read about her funny moniker, please read this article, How Loida Lewis Got Dubbed “Snow White(wash)” and then “CinderLoida” in Ongoing NaFFAA Soap Opera

 

Editor’s Note: To read more about the Ballygate (wherein Ms. Lewis was the third member of the Committee of Elections that orchestrated the NaFFAA election scandal), please click this hyperlink: Why Many First-generation Filipino Immigrants Are Failing Badly as American Citizens

 

 

A Pattern of Deceptive Attacks Against Critics

 

T he NaFFAA NEOs always attack the person of the critic, instead of answering the criticism. It runs after the person of the messenger, instead of dealing with the message.

 

The NaFFAA ruling clique has always hit this writer as a “crazy troublemaker out to destroy the federation.” Yes, even the Ms. CinderLoida likes to call her “favorite” Sorsoganon childhood friend as a “fool.” But then instead of getting mad, I get to crack jokes, as in this article, Is it Better to Be Called "Crazy" than Be Dubbed "Stupid"?

 

Now Back to the Noynoy-Mar Fundraisers in America

 

M anay Loida and her clique, especially her co-chair, Atty. Rodel Rodis, and their treasurer, Charito Benipayo, must render an accounting of the Filipino-American donations to the Noynoy-Mar campaign. They must account also for the sale proceeds of the T-shirts and other memorabilia that they sold to the donors and the general public.

 

And it appears that Attorney Lewis does not even know the law. She told Joseph Lariosa about “the Philippine Omnibus Election Code of 2007, which states that ‘foreigners and foreign corporations’ are not allowed to contribute to any political campaign in the Philippines.” But in her infinite goodness, she forgot the basic legal maxim in election laws: “He or she that has the right to vote possesses the right to contribute campaign funds to any candidate and/or political party.” She, Attorney Rodis, Ms. Benipayo and almost all of the donors to their Noynoy-Mar fundraisers were (and are still) dual citizens. And many of them registered to vote for the May 10, 2010, Philippine presidential elections. And remember the other legal maxim, “ignorance of the law excuses no one.”

 

N ow, we will ask again Joseph Lariosa to solicit any further commentary from Attorney Lewis, Atty. Rodel Rodis, Ms. Charito Benipayo and the other leaders of the Noynoy-Mar Fundraisers in the United States to do a public accounting of the proceeds. The issue of whether Bobby Reyes is a fool or not has nothing to do with the accounting being demanded. My lunacy or sanity is beside the point. LOL.

 

If Atty. Lewis, her fellow NaFFAA NEOs, et al, do not realize it yet, her statement coursed through Mr. Lariosa on June 24, 2010, made the First Clan (Cojuangcos-Aquinos) of the Philippines look bad. Because she claimed that she turned over $110,000 to a Cojuangco-Lopa scion and a sister of then-presidential candidate Noynoy Aquino.

 

Mr. Lariosa related what Ms. Lewis told him, as stated in this article,

U.S.-based Filipinos Volunteer for Good Governance

When the U.S. Pinoys for Noynoy-Mar raised $110,000 (5-million pesos), it wanted to make sure the campaign contribution went to the Liberal Party, which has a free hand to spend it in the campaign. Atty. Loida Nicolas Lewis sent thru telegraphic transfer the $100,000 to Mr. Jaime (Rafa?) Lopa, the treasurer of Senator Aquino, and handed the $10,000 personally to one of Aquino’s sisters.”

 

The ball now falls on the court of Ms. Loida and the other NaFFAA NEOs, who in their private capacity, raised funds for the Noynoy Aquino-Mar Roxas slate. As I wrote before, the NaFFAA guys have the biggest rackets in town even if nearly all of them do not know how to play tennis . . . LOL.

 

(To be continued . . .)



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Last Updated on Thursday, 09 September 2010 18:32
 
Comments (5)
1 Thursday, 09 September 2010 17:07
Bobby: This is a bomb waiting to explode! Your first email about Part I was forwarded to me by someone, not likely to know about this, from the East Coast. Knowing these NaFFAA NEOs, they are probably getting together now to do damage control!

Great reporting, Lolo!
Re: The "Fire" on the Loida Lewis-led Noynoy-Mar Fundraisers Is Getting Bigger

Dear Friends:

To use a Tagalog idiom, "lumalaki na ang sunog" over the demand made by this writer for a true accounting of the Filipino-American donations to the Noynoy Aquino-Mar Roxas presidential slate's campaign fund.

This time Ms. Loida Lewis and her fellow NaFFAA NEOs will be forced to render a true accounting, as she involved a first cousin and a sister of now-President Noynoy Aquino as the "supposed" receivers of the campaign funds that she and her clique members raised from Filipino-American donors. The First Family and First Clan (Cojuangco-Aquino) will not tolerate the mentioning of their names as part of this latest NaFFAA NEO-led financial scam.

Here is Part Two of the now-called "Butanding Brouhaha" series of articles:

Loida Lewis Refuses to Account for Fil-Am Donations to Noynoy Campaign Kitty and Calls Bobby Reyes a “Fool”

URL: http://www.mabuhayradio.com/naffaagate/loida-lewis-refuses-to-account-for-fil-am-donations-to-noynoy-campaign-kitty-and-calls-bobby-reyes-a-fool

If you missed Part One, please click on this link,

Loida Lewis, the NaFFAA NEOs, Et Al, Must Account Properly for the Fil-Am Contributions to Noynoy Aquino’s Political Campaign

URL: http://www.mabuhayradio.com/naffaagate/loida-lewis-the-naffaa-neos-et-al-must-account-properly-for-the-fil-am-contributions-to-noynoy-aquino-s-political-campaign

Contrary to reports, it is not the intention of this writer to portray Ms. Loida Nicolas-Lewis as the Filipino version of "The Emperor Without Clothes." But perhaps she may now put on new clothes of accountability and transparency, if not the ATIC attire.

Mabuhay,

Lolo Bobby M. Reyes
Editor
www.mabuhayradio.com
3 Thursday, 09 September 2010 21:04
In a message dated 9/9/2010 8:48:23 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, erniegange@com writes:

I was there in Manila for the Inaugural of President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III , and, I did not notice the "FIRE."

I am a member of the US Pinoys for Good Governance, (USP4GG) and Convenor for Pennsylvania. I approved the financial report of USP4GG Treasurer Charito Benipayo.

Friends, I have known Loida for more than a decade, and together, we cofounded the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) in 1997, whose mission is to empower Filipinos and Filipino Americans in politics.

Loida is a decent human being, a philanthropist, who had given away millions of dollars of her own money to charitable causes and institutions, like the African-American Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, the Harvard University in Boston, the Rameen Bank in Sorsogon, whose mission is provide small loans to women in business at a very low interest rate, the Pearl S. Buck Foundation in my County of Bucks, in Pennsylvania, whose mission is "help children worldwide."

Loida was a major donor and cofounder of the Asian Legal Defense and Education Fund (ALDEF) of New York, whose mission is to "provide free legal aid to Asians who cannot afford to pay a Lawyer."

Loida funded our NaFFAA national office in Washington, D.C., which includes the office rent, salaries of the Executive Director and Secretarial staff, from 1997 to 2008.

I hope the allegations against Loida are not politically motivated.

The late Philippine Senator Lorenzo Tanada Sr. once said,
"the future actions of a man, can be judged from his past actions."

Thank you and best regards.

Ernesto Gange
Board member, Our Barangay, Inc.
4 Thursday, 09 September 2010 21:08
Dear Apo Ernie:

We will post your spirited defense of Atty. Loida Nicolas-Lewis in the User's Comments after the article.

But the fact that Ms. Loida is holier than Mother Teresa and more philanthropic than the Rockefellers has nothing to do with the issue at bar. The issue is the full-and-complete accounting of the campaign funds generated by Ms. Lewis, her fellow NaFFAA officers and friends (all acting in their personal capacity) for the Noynoy Aquino-Mar Roxas presidential slate. She has simply to send the report to us and we will gladly publish it.

But reports say that all of the donors were never issued receipts, especially the smaller amounts given in cash at all the fundraising events held in the United States.

What is so difficult of issuing out a financial report for any activity or event? When I was elected at an election held at the Philippine Consulate General as the chairman of the 2003 Philippine Independence Fiesta and Parade, I practiced fully the tenets of accountability and transparency. The event was held on June 7, 2003, and our treasurer and I issued a written financial report on June 17, 2003 -- or ten days after the fact. Copies were given to the consular officials, members of the committee, the Filipino press and the public. The report was posted also online.

The same accountability practice was done when I was elected also as the overall chairman of the 2006 Kalayaan Philippine Independence Committee at the Philippine Consulate General. My Committee reported to the consular officials, the community and media leaders and the public a full financial report within 20 days. The gala dinner and ball was held on June 10, 2006, and we submitted our report on June 30, 2006, in a meeting at the consulate. Printed copies were distributed to all in attendance, including the members of the Filipino-American media.

If we can do it in Los Angeles, can't the community leaders in New York do it also at the Big Apple and do it also anywhere else?

Ms. Loida has a big problem now because she initially claimed that she remitted by telegraphic transfer the funds to a first cousin of President Noynoy Aquino and gave the balance of $10,000 to a sister of the President. We are sure that the Aquinos, Cojuancos, Lopas, et al, would not want to be dragged into the mess. Ms. Loida has to tell the Filipino world the real score on the campaign fundraising because she was the overall convenor of the fundraising organization in the United States.

So, let us give Ms. Lewis a chance to submit the financial report and give her the benefit of the doubt.

Mabuhay,

Lolo Bobby M. Reyes
Editor
www.mabuhayradio.com

(As sent by e-mail to Mr. Gange, with copies to Ms. Lewis, Joseph G. Lariosa and several other community leaders)
It is good to have an "ax to grind" sometimes. It gives you incentive to be busy and focused; and sometimes, something unexpected public benefit may result. For as long as your intention is good and not purely out of personal vendetta for the past "tensions" of ideas, (imagined, just,or real), do it, ala-pacquiao-pasion; so that, you will emerge victorious, butantingly.

Bukod-tanging sumasaiyo,

Terry H
Los Angeles, California

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