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Home Sections Politics Filipino Americans Should Keep Political Donations Flowing
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Sections - Politics
Friday, 20 August 2010 05:30

 

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

(Journal Group Link International)

 

Filipino Americans Should Keep Political Donations Flowing

 

C HICAGO (jGLi) – Contributing to a political campaign is part of the freedom of speech of a voter. The more you give, the louder your voice will be.

 

This outlook is shared both here in the United States and in the Philippines.

 

But in the case of United States-based Filipinos, who would like to influence the outcome of the elections in the Philippines, theirs will only be voices in the wilderness for now. And they will need the help of the Philippine Congress to make their voices heard.

 

A case in point was the latest foray of U.S. Pinoys into the political realm in the Philippines. They grudgingly opened their checkbooks and credit cards to support the candidacies of Mr. Aquino for President and Mr. Roxas for Vice President.

 

Their campaigns must be very effective because the Aquino-Roxas tandem won overwhelmingly among Overseas Filipinos not only in North America but also all over the world.

 

But the U.S. Pinoys for Noy-Mar feel betrayed that after contributing nearly $100,000 to the Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas campaign last spring, their contributions did not even register in the radar of Messrs. Aquino and Roxas, the Liberal Party or the Philippine Commission on Elections. The U.S. Pinoys used the U.S Internal Revenue Service’s “Section 501 (c) (6)” in their fund-raising.

 

It turned out that the $111,443.46 became a personal contribution from U.S. Pinoys convenor Atty. Loida Nicolas Lewis although she merely personally donated $5,000 to the pot. It was not credited at all as coming from U.S. Pinoys for Noy-Mar, which ceased to exist after the May 10, 2010, presidential elections.

 

The reason is simple. Under the Philippine Omnibus Election Code of 2007, “foreigners and foreign corporations” are not allowed to contribute to any political campaign in the Philippines.

 

BECAME PERSONAL DONATIONS

 

If Mrs. Lewis would list down “U.S. Pinoys for Noynoy Mar” as source of political donations to the Liberal Party, it will be a violation of the election code that could mean the disqualification of Noynoy from holding the office of the presidency.

 

For the U.S. Pinoys to be recognized as contributors in the future Philippine elections, they have to lobby Philippine Congress to amend portion of the Election Code that will give exceptions to Filipinos who had naturalized and who owned business corporations to be allowed to contribute to the political campaign in the Philippine elections.

 

So what Mrs. Lewis did with the U.S. Pinoys contribution was to channel the contributions to the “Pnoy-Pinay,” a non-partisan group that is sympathetic to the Noy-Mar campaign. She told me someone from the “Noy-Mar” campaign directed her to course the U.S. Pinoys donations to “Pnoy-Pinay.”

 

The “PnoyPinay” used the donations from the U.S. Pinoys for meals and other needs for poll watching (bantay balota) and education voting outreach in 16 cities and one municipality in Metro Manila.

 

According to its website, PnoyPinay’s mission is to help in rebuilding a nation that is founded on the principles of equity, environmental sustainability, peace and social justice; dedicated to economic development that ensures the uplift of the poor; governed by ethical leaders who serve an empowered and responsible people.

 

VISIONS & MISSIONS

 

I ts vision is to harness the strengths, especially of Filipino women, and to actively participate in the movement for reform and good governance by providing the support to ensure the victory of the Aquino-Roxas team in the 2010 elections and creating active groups, in various sectors and geographic locations, that will be partners in reform and good governance.

 

While U.S. Pinoys are waiting for the Philippine Congress to amend the Philippine Omnibus Election Code, they can channel their contributions to at least two Filipino Americans, who will be in the ballot on Nov. 2, 2010. One is Rep. Steve Austria, who is running for re-election in his 7th District in Ohio. The other is Justice Tani Gorres Cantil-Sakauye, who has been nominated by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as California’s State Supreme Court Chief Justice.

 

FIL-AM CANDIDATES

 

F or Filipino Americans, who hail from Quezon province, the birthplace of Representative Austria’s father, the late Dr. Clemente Austria, they can lead in campaign donations for Congressman Austria. They can visit his website, www.steveustria.com, where credit cards contributions can be made. They have to be either a naturalized U.S. citizen or an immigrant to make contributions. If individuals wish to mail in contributions, they may do so by making checks payable to: Steve Austria for Congress, 20 S. Limestone St., Suite 390, Springfield, Ohio 45502, Tel. 937.521.1960; Fax 937.521.1961,

E-mail address: steve@steveaustria.com.

 

Congressman Austria’s spokesperson Kari Griffith told this columnist the maximum an individual may make donation for the cycle is $2,400/$4,800 per couple. There is no minimum contribution. She did not mention about the limits an immigrant can contribute to the campaign.

 

In the case of Justice Cantil-Sakauye, it is not yet sure if she is opening a website, dedicated to her fund-raising pending a public hearing at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 25, in the California Supreme Court Courtroom, Earl Warrant Building, Fourth Floor, 350 McAllister Street, San Francisco, California by the Commission on Judicial Appointments of her nomination.

 

If she does, Cebuano-Filipino Americans should help lead her in her fund-raising campaign. It was reported that the grand mother of Justice Cantil-Sakauye is from Cebu in the Philippines.

 

Now, Filipino Americans, stop being fence sitters. Start opening your wallets if you want to gain political empowerment. # # #

 

Editor’s Note: To contact the author, please e-mail him at:  (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

 

 



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