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May 31st
Home Columns San Diego Happenings A Preview of Romy Marquez's Coming Report About the "Abot Kamay" Disaster Relief Fund
A Preview of Romy Marquez's Coming Report About the "Abot Kamay" Disaster Relief Fund PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - San Diego Happenings
Monday, 29 October 2007 04:31

The has decided to reproduce Romeo P. Marquez's e-mail of inquiry to the prime movers of the so-called "Abot Kamay" Disaster Relief Fund that is being organized. In the e-mail inquiry of Mr. Marquez, this writer also commented about a previous fundraiser for the October 2003 (2-0-0-3) victims of the brushfire tragedy also in San Diego County. This report is a preview of the coming Romeo Marquez's hopefully earth-shaking (?) report. And we hope that readers may be able to provide some more data to Mr. Marquez, especially about the previous fundraising activities done by some of the same community leaders.

Editor's Note: For the record, it was also Mr. Marquez who raised first about the issue of accountability and transparency for the 2003 disaster-relief fundraiser by the NaFFAA and the COPAO. This writer merely followed-up Mr. Marquez's inquiries that have also remained unanswered to date. 

In a message dated 10/29/2007 9:02:40 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, PhilVoiceNews writes:

To: Rita Andrews, Myrna Reyes, CL Vinson, Sam Samson, Susan de los Santos, Precy Garrovillas, Boodgie Arce, Rizalino Oades and Consul General Mary Jo Aragon.

Hi, good morning to all.

In connection with a story I'm writing about the "Abot Kamay" disaster relief fund of which all of you are named as organizers, I would like to ask some questions, as follows:

1. How much do you intend to raise?

2. How long is the fund-raising?

3. Who are the beneficiaries?

4. Who keeps the money being raised?

5. Is there already a bank account for that purpose?

6. Who can withdraw, donate, re-deposit any funds raised from this?

7. What disaster do you have in mind, the recent fires or future disasters, in the US or in the Philippines?

8. Have you identified fire victims who may be recipients of the funds?

9. How many Filipinos are there, if there's any?

10. Who made a choice of the number of people involved, and all the people involved?

11. As COPAO is lead organization, does COPAO get any percentage as commission?

12. Or for that matter, does any individual member get a percentage as commission?

13. Who do you target as donors?

14. Who conceptualized "Abot Kamay"?

15. What's behind the name?

16. Is the San Diego chapter of NaFFAA also involved?

As I have varying deadlines in different time zones, I would please ask that your responses be made within the next three days, or earlier. If by Wednesday (Oct. 31) I don't get any response by mail, email, phone or fax, I would take it that none of those addressed in this email refused to answer or explain the fund-raising effort.

Thanks and best regards,

Romy Marquez, editor

Philippine Village Voice

phone and fax: 619.265.0611

also at

mailing address: P.O. Box 2118, La Jolla, CA. 92038


Re: 2007 Relief Fund (2) Where Have All the 1997 and 2003 Dollars Gone?


Dear Friends:

CC: Mr. Doy Heredia, chief of staff, NaFFAA

CC: Ms. Alma Q. Kern, national chair, NaFFAA

We join Mr. Romeo P. Marquez in asking you the same questions.

We are concerned because to date the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA) headquarters in Washington, DC, and its chapter in San Diego, California, have not provided the public with a financial report of its fundraiser in October 2003 (2-0-0-3) for the victims then of the brushfires in San Diego County. We have been waiting for four years for the said requested financial statement to no avail.

Remember that it was the NaFFAA National Chief of Staff Doy Heredia who chaired the October 2003 fundraiser together with Mrs. Aurora Cudal, then the chairman of the NaFFAA chapter in San Diego and also president of the COPAO. All that Mrs. Cudal could answer in her online postings was that a check was turned over to the San Diego chapter of the American Red Cross (ARC). But Mrs. Cudal could not state how much was turned over to the ARC. She and Mr. Heredia refused also to provide a financial report of the funds raised. At that time, Mrs. Cudal said that since the NaFFAA San Diego chapter did not have any tax-exempt privileges, then all check donations would be made payable to the COPAO. Some people misinterpreted the move as some kind of money-laundering scheme. Why were the checks from the donors not made payable directly to the ARC?

The Filipino-American community of San Diego has been victimized before by fundraising scams led by NaFFAA officials. In 1996, Ms. Ludy Ongkeko, then the NaFFAA chair for Southern CA, led a fundraiser in San Diego for the Philippine Floats to be fielded at the 1997 Pasadena Tournament of Roses parade. Mrs. Ongkeko followed her federation's practice of refusing to submit financial reports. She was, however, forced by the Superior Court of Los Angeles to provide me copies of the financial records after she sued me for libel for calling her a crook. You know what I found out? After 10 months of raising money in San Diego and distributing collection boxes, Mrs. Ongkeko's committee showed only a collection of $458 in San Diego (four-hundred fifty-eight dollars). Would anybody believe Mrs. Ongkeko and her parade-fundraising committee? Some of the (same) leaders of the NaFFAA chapter in San Diego and the COPAO assisted then Mrs. Ongkeko.

So, the move now of Mr. Marquez is not only timely but also advisable in view of the past fundraisers where the NaFFAA and the COPAO failed to observe diligently the tenets of accountability, transparency, integrity and credibility (ATIC).

We will immediately post this dialogue in our web site as a preview of Mr. Marquez's coming report about the "Abot Kamay" Disaster Relief Fund. Perhaps concerned Filipino-American readers may be able to provide collateral data to Mr. Marquez.

For the record,


Bobby M. Reyes, editor,

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Last Updated on Monday, 29 October 2007 04:51

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