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Dec 03rd
Home Sections NaFFAAgate Why Filipino Americans Are Avoiding the NaFFAA Like It Were a Plague
Why Filipino Americans Are Avoiding the NaFFAA Like It Were a Plague PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 25 January 2009 03:10

S outhern California is the home of the world's biggest Filipino community outside of the Philippines. In fact, in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles alone, there are more than 800,000 Filipino parishioners, as Roger Cardinal Mahony has said (as of Dec. 15, 2008, and as reported to the Filipino-American press by Philippine Consul General Mary Jo Bernardo Aragon on Jan. 22, 2009). The National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA) advertises itself as the biggest Filipino-American organization in the United States. And yet, as I have been saying throughout these years, the NaFFAA is a mere paper tiger. Yes, a double amputee has more remaining fingers and toes than the number of members the NaFFAA has in the Los Angeles basin. The same dearth of members is true in many American cities, with the exceptions of its chapters in the New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the New England States, Florida and some cities in the Midwest and Virginia, where its regional officers are perceived to be honest unlike the federation’s national executive officers (NEOs) who are believed to be crooks (C-R-O-O-K-S).


This writer has written many exposés in the federation as published in this website’s NaFFAAgate section. I wrote about the latest attempt to reorganize the NaFFAA in Los Angeles in this article, Community Urged to Continue Boycott of the NaFFAA and stated in it this paragraph: “As you may be able to read in the NaFFAAgate section, the undersigned writer has accused many of the NaFFAA founders and national executive officers (NEOs) – including Mr. Macabenta – of being crooks, as they have pocketed many of the federation's revenues and used them for personal gain. I have dared them to sue (me) for libel since October 2000. So far, nobody has even sent a demand letter for a retraction because they know that truth is a defense against libel.”


How many law-abiding community leaders would want to join an organization where its national leaders are accused of being crooks? How many honest people may want to be members of even the NaFFAA chapter in Northern California where its new chairman happens to have made a “no-contest plea” in a criminal case where he, Ben Menor, was charged with fraudulently diverting city funds to bankroll the NaFFAA convention in San Jose, CA, in August 2002? More of the so-called Menorgate can be read in the NaFFAAgate section. And to date, the NaFFAA NEOs continue to refuse to make public the financial statement for their 2002 convention in San Jose.


A spiring Filipino-American writer Dionesio Grava has posted in the NaFFAA_forum another proof of the dismal showing of the NaFFAA in a community event in Los Angeles. After the NaFFAA promised a delegation of 70 community leaders, only four showed up. (Mr. Grava's report is reproduced at the end of this article).


It will not take a rocket scientist to know why community leaders are avoiding the NaFFAA as if it were a bubonic plague. As Poet-pundit Fred Burce Bunao likes to tell, “Mga bubo, ops, bobo raw kasi ang mga NEOs ng NaFFAA.” The Filipino word “bobo” means stupid.


The national leadership of the NaFFAA—as led by its controlling Esclamado Clique—continues to rule over the federation. The clique continues to fix elections to its national board and elect its members as the NEOs. The NEOs in turn appoints many regional officers, as they could not risk holding clean-and-honest elections. The NaFFAA regional officers in its Los Angeles chapter are all appointed by the NEOs. How many sane community leaders would want to join an organization that does not conduct any election to choose its officers?


This writer has asked many questions that the NEOs refuse to answer. For instance, I asked before and will again ask now: How come that the NaFFAA, which is headquartered in Washington, DC, continues to maintain bank accounts in Las Vegas, NV, where the Esclamados live? How come Mrs. Lully Esclamado continues to be the national assistant treasurer and the real sole signatory of the NaFFAA bank accounts? How come the NEOs like its national vice chair, Ms. Rozita Lee, who happens also to head the NaFFAA chapter in Las Vegas, continue to issue NaFFAA chapter checks with their sole signature – all in violation of the NaFFAA bylaws that requires two signatures for its checks and other financial instruments? Even Loida Nicolas-Lewis, then the regional chair of NaFFAA’s Region I, was issuing the chapter’s checks with her sole signature. When I confronted her online in 2001, she meekly answered that oftentimes, she could not contact her treasurer to countersign the check. I asked her: “Since you happen to be the richest Filipino in the United States, why don’t you just issue your personal check and later seek reimbursement from your chapter treasurer?” Then she kept quiet and refused to continue the online discussion.


So, until and unless the good and honest people in the NaFFAA local chapters confront the NEOs and kick them out—or better yet, report them also to the authorities for violations of the various rules and regulations governing public-benefit corporations—the NaFFAA’s tragic soap opera continues. As I told Dr. Eddie AAA Calderon of Minneapolis, MN, “NaFFAA-ka sakit talaga, Kuya Eddie.” And up to now Dr. Calderon refuses to join the NaFFAA.


But there is hope in and for the NaFFAA. I wrote on May 9, 2008, this piece in my Unsolicited Advice  column, There Are Good People in the NaFFAA Who Can Put the House in Proper Order


In the said May 2008 article, I wrote these last two paragraphs: “Well, justice has now prevailed at least in the Superior Court of Santa Clara, California. Will the Good People in the NaFFAA now rise and get back the federation for the Filipino-American community? Or will they continue to be like Loida Nicolas Lewis, Alma Q. Kern and Lorna Dietz who are allegedly the new role models for the Three-Monkey symbols for ‘Hear No Evil, See No Evil and Talk No Evil’?


“Yes, it is time to end the monkey business in the NaFFAA. Ngarud?”


But so far, the good people in the NaFFAA are hesitant to rise up in collective arms and do the reforms. Many of them apparently do not like to display the federation’s dirty linen in public despite the fact that the financial scams and scandals in the NaFFAA have already reached the Santa Clara County’s Superior (Criminal) Court and the San Jose (Civil) Court.


Again, I ask, “Quo vadis, good men and women in the NaFFAA?”


Here is Mr. Grava’s posting:


Re: [NaFFAA_forum] NaFFAA Region 9 and our concept of RSVP


In a message dated 1/25/2009 7:48:59 A.M. Pacific Standard Time, writes:


I attended a free informative seminar about the Web 2 phenomenon yesterday at the huge Olympic Collection Banquet Center in Olympic Bl., Los Angeles. During a break in the session, an official from the host Quattro University paid tribute to main partners in the event, among them the supposedly resurgent NaFFAA Region 9. Then amid thunderous applause from participants of different races (but mainly white Americans), the official asked those from the National Federation of Filipino American Associations -- which she described as a very large Filipino national organization -- to stand up and be acknowledged. There was a subsequent hush when it became apparent that only very few of us represented the organization (I'm not even a member of NaFFAA).


Later at lunch one of the organizers made known to our Filipino group the embarrassment of being responsible in advising the host that 70 NaFFAA invitees had RSVP'd to attend. That was the reason, it was said, that the host had changed the venue to a bigger place (it was originally set at Raleigh Studios in Melrose Av.).


There is a twist to this story. While attending an entertainment event in the past, the publicist-organizer intimated that of the many attendees I was one of the very few who replied to the invitation.


In this connection, I sincerely wish that some of us should change attitude and be more considerate to other people who have the good sense of inviting us to events. RSVP is a French term meaning "please reply".


By the way kudos to the NaFFAA Region 9 Team composed of


Socrates Inonog

Susan Dilkes

Charina Carrera

Maita Miyake


for collaborating with the movers of that laudable project. Coordinating on the host side was another Filipina, Eva Barry.



UNQUOTE. # # #

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Last Updated on Sunday, 25 January 2009 03:18

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