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May 24th
Home Columns San Diego Happenings COPAO “Buries” Case of Its Missing $27,000
COPAO “Buries” Case of Its Missing $27,000 PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - San Diego Happenings
Friday, 13 June 2008 22:16

The News UpFront: (TOP STORY) as of Saturday, June 14, 2008 

The voice that fell silent when the worst scandal in the Filipino community had surfaced finally spoke with a tinge of bitterness at being at the center of "negative" stories about the organization she heads. COPAO President Rita B. Andrews seems content with the audit and police investigation into the unsolved check forgeries and the missing $27,000 from COPAO. "What (more) do you want me to do?" she asks, as if the problem would just go away after her COPAO had consigned it to oblivion. She stresses repeatedly that she inherited the problem from the administration before her, a sure way of distancing herself from, and avoiding direct mention of her friend's name, Aurora S. Cudal, who was COPAO president when the monies vanished.


COPAO President Andrews Says: Case of the Missing $27,000 Would Not Be Reopened

 

By Romeo P. Marquez

 

The author is a member of the Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), the Asian-American Journalists Association (AAJA) and the National Press Club of the Philippines-USA.

A top official of the Filipino community's umbrella organization has indicated that she would not allow the reopening of the case involving the unsolved check forgeries and the disappearance of publicly-raised monies amounting to thousands of dollars.

 

Fending off criticisms the Council of Philippine American Organizations (COPAO) had swept the case under the rug, Rita Buencamino Andrews, COPAO president, said she and her co-officers already did their "fiduciary duty" and implied nothing more specific than that was forthcoming.

 

"I had it (COPAO) audited. I had it investigated. What do you want me to do?," she quipped during an interview on Thursday (June 12) at the somber, no-frill commemoration of Philippine independence day at the residence of the late patriot Carlos Riego de Dios Linayao on Ocean View Blvd.

 

Editor’s Notes: To read more about the COPAO missing funds, please just use the Search Button of this website and type in “COPAO.” There are 60 matches (entries) in that category (term). In particular, please read Ms. Cudal Writes the MabuhayRadio About Romy Marquez's Reports wherein Mrs. Cudal and her treasurer failed even to advise the COPAO depository bank that checks with alleged forged signatures were being cashed by thieves. Mrs. Cudal’s defense of her conduct as COPAO president is untenable and just confirms the scam as an “inside job.” She can sue this editor for libel if she thinks that she is not a crook.

As if to emphasize that she had no role in the worst scandal to hit the community, Ms. Andrews repeatedly said that she inherited the problem "from the previous administration" -- which actually meant from her friend, Mrs. Aurora S. Cudal -- who she did not mention by name.

 

Ms. Cudal was the COPAO president when 50 checks were allegedly forged and $27,000 vanished from its coffers. At that time when the mess had yet to be uncovered, she had firmly refused an audit demanded by other officers and members.

 

When Ms. Andrews took over as president upon the end of Cudal's term, an external audit was performed that, among others, had revealed the huge cash variance.

 

Ms. Cudal later on admitted that she was investigated by the National City Police and made to submit her signature specimens for cross-matching with the signature on the allegedly forged checks. Ms. Cudal's name appeared on 43 of the 50 checks but she denied the signatures were hers.

 

 

 

 

PHILIPPINE VILLAGE VOICE - Redefining Community News
BREAKING NEWS -  Exclusive Volume 2, Issue No. 15 / News Without Fear or Favor—A community service of San Diego's Philippine Village Voice (PhilVoiceNews@aol.com or at 619.265.0611) for the information and better understanding of the public.

"I don't want you to write that I don't want to override the Executive Council decision," said Ms. Andrews, who was huddled at an early dinner with Zeny Mascardo-Ravelo, president of Aguinaldo Foundation, Faith Bautista, executive director of Mabuhay Alliance, and another unidentified lady.

 

"I'd say that I abide by the decision of the council," Ms. Andrews emphasized. The council or EC, the organization's equivalent of a Board of Directors, has resolved to close the case.

 

By voting to do that, COPAO effectively buried the case without having resolved it. A cloud of suspicion still lingers over COPAO and its past officers, notably Ms. Cudal; Pastor Romen Rivera, vice president for finance; Norma DeGuzman, treasurer; and Charito Balanag, auditor.

 

Police investigators did not name a suspect although a recommendation was forwarded to the San Diego County District Attorney to prosecute the case. The DA later said there was no sufficient evidence to try it.

 

In a weird twist that the family of Pastor Rivera claimed was responsible for his debilitating stroke, COPAO censured Mr. Rivera and Ms. DeGuzman but left out the two others, thus practically clearing Ms. Cudal and Ms. Balanag of any wrongdoing.

 

Ms. Andrews, complaining about the spate of what she called "negative" stories about COPAO, also hurled a challenge to this reporter to investigate further and secure proof that would allow the DA to take a second look at the case. # # #

 

(This Breaking News is sent by Romeo P. Marquez, editor, Philippine Village Voice, San Diego, California. Mailing address: P.O. Box 2118, La Jolla, CA. 92038.)

 



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Last Updated on Friday, 13 June 2008 22:27
 
Comments (1)
1 Friday, 27 March 2009 17:36
Sino ba talaga ang nagnakaw? Ang tagal na yan, panahon pa ni Cudal. For sure, ubos na yang pera. Please, umamin na kayo!

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