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Mar 28th
Home Columns San Diego Happenings COPAO Strikes Back at Romy Marquez
COPAO Strikes Back at Romy Marquez PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - San Diego Happenings
Thursday, 23 August 2007 06:05

The News UpFront: (TOP STORY) as of Thursday, 23 August 2007

~ On what seems like it's on its death throes, COPAO can be mean and nasty and dirty as it attempts to put pressure on another organization. COPAO is mounting a campaign to boycott a community event and to stop the sponsoring organization from bestowing its recognition on journalist Romeo P. Marquez.


COPAO Mounts a Boycott vs. MCPS


The founder and prime mover of one of the oldest organizations in San Diego's Filipino community has complained against alleged efforts by the Council of Philippine American Organizations (COPAO) to sabotage an event which has for its top guests the mayor of National City and two officials from the Philippines.

Mrs. Lucy R. Gonzales of the Maria Clara de Pilipinas Sorority (MCPS) said a campaign has been launched by COPAO asking individuals and organizations to boycott the MCPS event on Sunday, Sept. 2 at the Sheraton Hotel and Marina on Harbor Island Drive near the San Diego airport.

On top of that, COPAO, the Filipino community's umbrella organization of about 50 associations, is also gathering signatures for a petition to stop MCPS from bestowing its recognition on this writer, Mrs. Gonzales said.

The report that Mrs. Gonzales has been receiving was confirmed by Connie Leyva, a popular community leader, who currently helps the MCPS with its forthcoming gala. Both of them denounced what COPAO has started doing.

Mrs. Gonzales, Leyva and this writer had a 90-minute conversation by phone during which the COPAO plan to sabotage the MCPS event was discussed and the names of its proponents revealed.

The MCPS has picked seven media persons as its honorees during its 39th year anniversary celebration. According to its press release, the individuals are:

1. Maria Arcega Dunn - Weekend TV News Fox 6
2. Romeo Marquez - Village Voice photo write up legacy of the late Carlos Linayao
3. Abelardo Mojica - Philippine Mabuhay News Malungay – Tree of Life
4. Susan Delos Santos - Filipino Press Pinoy Family Soak City
5. Simeon Silverio - Asian Journal Dining at Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion
6. Burl Stiff - San Diego Union Tribune Society Columnist Coverage of Annual MCPS Ball
7. Dr. Barbara Yorobe, MD - Philippine Asian World Report Promotion and expansion of Filipiniana Library and Museum, Downtown San Diego.

Mrs. Gonzales said she was intent on filing a lawsuit against COPAO and its officials in the event the number of attendees falls short of expectations.

A number of individuals had been mentioned as among the active initiators of the boycott and the petition, among them COPAO president Rita Andrews. Asked to confirm or deny the allegation, Andrews did not respond.

Some individuals who attended a recent gathering for Judge Lillian Lim said they witnessed a commotion between Mrs. Gonzales and Andrews -- who were both agitated -- apparently on the same subjects of the boycott and petition.

"Mrs. Gonzales looked really so upset talking to Andrews," a witness said.

Mrs. Aurora Cudal, president of COPAO when $27,000 went missing from its coffers and 50 checks were allegedly forged, disclaimed any part.

"I hope I know who initiated and who is circulating the petition so that I can sign it," she told the Philippine Village Voice.

Mitz Lee, a member of the San Diego School Board, whose name was mentioned as a signatory, suggested that "someone signed my name on my behalf". She stressed that she "did not sign any petition".

"If there is anything with my signature floating around I need to know it and please get a copy for confirmation," Lee, a declared candidate for the San Diego City Council, said in response to questions from this reporter.

Mrs. Gonzales explained that she also talked to Edna Concepcion, a co-chair of PhilAm BID, to set aside her animosity against this writer, saying the MCPS had nothing to do with her business and the unflattering stories about PhilAm BID that appeared in the Philippine Village Voice.

Concepcion appeared to be discouraging the MCPS from recognizing this writer, Mrs. Gonzales said, and she told her not to drag MCPS into her conflict. Concepcion wasn't immediately available for comment.

Before the Philippine Village Voice had published a story in February and July about Concepcion and PhilAm BID's fully-documented effort to win financial support from Microsoft Corp., Concepcion had said that she was going to introduce this writer during the recognition ceremony.

She said then that she was preparing a speech and repeatedly tried to convince this writer to accept the recognition when told he had some hesitation.

The name of Faith Bautista, the paid executive director of the networking agency Mabuhay Alliance, also surfaced during the conversation. Leyva said she was one of the signatories in the petition. Bautista was not immediately available for comment as this story was being written.

National City Mayor Ron Morrison is the event's guest speaker. Olongapo City Mayor James Gordon and his wife Anne Gordon, currently vice governor of Zambales, are the special guests from the Philippines.

Despite all the controversy that MCPS has generated because of its choice of honorees, Mrs. Gonzales said that she was standing firm on the decision to recognize this writer.

Gonzales credited this writer for what she called an "excellent article" about the late patriot Carlos Riego de Dios Linayao who passed away on July 4, 2006.

The Philippine Village Voice had devoted a two-page spread on its July 2006 centerfold highlighting the works and contributions of Linayao to the Filipino community since he joined the US Navy in 1946 and settled in San Diego.

A descendant of two generals of the Philippine Revolution of 1896, Linayao had been the only advocate for a strict observance of Philippine independence day at the very minute of its declaration by General Emilio Aguinaldo in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898.

Linayao had had repeatedly stated that the significance and solemnity of that day should not be sacrificed for the time and convenience of those who want to commemorate it. Thus, he had every June 12 at exactly 4:47 p.m. marked

MCPS' Ako ay Pilipino highlights the 2007 Ladies of Elegance selected for the presentation. They are: Ellen Nobles Sexsion, business; Vina Phelps, community service; Frances Lebron, education; Lydia Loristo, government services; Nenita Smith, international; Marilou Hibanada Alcantar, judicial services; LCdr., Cynthia French, MC, USN Military; and Cdr. Violeta Fedora, MC, USN Nursing.

BREAKING NEWS - A PhilVoiceNews Exclusive

A community service of San Diego's Philippine Village Voice ( or at 619.265.0611) for the information and better understanding of the public.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 25 October 2007 07:45

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