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Dec 02nd
Home Columns Op-Ed Page Congratulations Congressman Filner for Exposing a Crook in Our Community But More Heads Have to Roll
Congratulations Congressman Filner for Exposing a Crook in Our Community But More Heads Have to Roll PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - Op-Ed Page
Tuesday, 17 July 2007 08:44


Filipino Americans must congratulate Congressman Bob Filner (D, San Diego) for exposing the rackets of Eric Lachica, a supposed lobbyist for Filipino-American World War II veterans. Veteran Filipino journalist Romeo P. Marquez reported in his scoop about the American legislator’s criticism of Mr. Lachica, who has plying his nefarious activities for many years now. Filipino-American community leaders and even Filipino diplomats just talked in whispers behind Mr. Lachica’s back but tolerated his rackets because all of them did not want to display dirty Filipino linen in public.

Well-meaning Filipino-American leaders must tell Congressman Filner that the house cleaning of the Filipino-Veterans’ (FilVets’) Lobby must not end with Mr. Lachica. As this online publication has written in a series of articles about the FilVets’ Lobby, there are still people of dubious character who have appointed themselves as committee chairpersons in the National Alliance for Veterans’ Equity (NAFVE).

This online publication has named at least three individuals who should not be members of the NAFVE leadership. The three are Jon Melegrito, Perry Diaz and Doy Heredia. Mr. Melegrito is the NAFVE Steering Committee co-chair. Mr. Heredia represents the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA) in the NAFVE. Mr. Diaz is the NAFVE Media Committee co-chair.

Mr. Melegrito was the executive director of the NaFFAA in August 2002 when the so-called Menorgate-NaFFAAgate Scandals of San Jose, CA, happened. Some of the NaFFAA national executive officers (NEOs) actually participated in the looting of public funds that were allocated by the City of San Jose to the Northside Community Center (NCC). The funds were supposed to be used by the NCC in providing services to senior citizens and veterans. Part of the funds were used instead in paying for the expenses incurred in holding the NaFFAA convention in San Jose in August 2002. The NCC executive director and CEO, Ben Menor, then a NaFFAA NEO, has been indicted by the District Attorney of Santa Clara Country for criminal fraud. He faces also a civil suit filed by the City of San Jose. There is also a move to ask the California Attorney General to endorse to the federal authorities the prosecution of several NaFFAA NEOs for violation of the "Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations" (RICO) Act.

Mr. Heredia took over the position of Executive Director of the NaFFAA from Mr. Melegrito after the San Jose convention. Romy Marquez exposed the fundraising drive of the NaFFAA in San Diego, CA, in October 2003 supposedly for the victims of a brushfire tragedy. To date both the NaFFAA headquarters and its chapter in San Diego have refused to render an accounting of the fundraising proceeds. Mr. Heredia co-chaired that San Diego fundraiser of the NaFFAA.

Mr. Diaz was removed as treasurer of the Asian-American Republican National Council for allegedly commingling the council funds with his personal bank account. To date no Filipino-American Republican leader has stood up to defend Mr. Diaz from this ugly rumor that the Asian-American Republicans themselves have leaked to the press. Then there is the accusation that Mr. Diaz is a bigot, as he has been hitting the members of the Media Breakfast Club of Los Angeles (MBCLA) as belonging to a group of gays and lesbians. Mr. Diaz has been telling people in his Internet postings that he suspects that the MBCLA members are gay because they use the screen name He likes to crack a joke that the Filipino word for gay is "bacla" and the MBCLA members use "bcla" as part of their acronym and screen name. Ergo, Mr. Diaz, concludes that the club members are gay people. It is a cruel joke and Mr. Diaz has refused throughout the years to stop his gay-bashing commentaries.

It is high time that the Filipino-American community and the Filipino diplomats in Washington, DC, ask Messrs. Melegrito, Heredia and Diaz to butt out and disappear into the dustbin of history. They should not only be ostracized but reported to the authorities for prosecution of their nefarious activities. With the exposé made already by Congressman Filner about Mr. Lachica, there is no use now crying over spilt milk. The dirty Filipino linen has already been exposed in Washington, DC. No amount of whitewashing can prevent critics of the FilVets’ Lobby from using the examples of Messrs. Lachica, Melegrito, Heredia and Diaz as reasons for opposing the pending legislation for Filipino WWII veterans. There is an unwritten rule in the American corridors of power that people with lots of skeletons in their political closets cannot be lobbyists or even be part of a lobby. No more, no less.

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Last Updated on Friday, 20 July 2007 01:29

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