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Oct 30th
Home Columns San Diego Happenings Cudal Lays Blame on COPAO Scandal to 'Conniving Cheats'
Cudal Lays Blame on COPAO Scandal to 'Conniving Cheats' PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - San Diego Happenings
Saturday, 22 September 2007 12:52

The News UpFront: (TOP STORY) as of Saturday, 22 September 2007

~ Three years after the fact, and many months after a COPAO official had died and another had suffered a crippling stroke, an MP (morals police) named Aurora Cudal claims she's the "victim of conniving cheats" who made her an "escape goat" in the missing $27,000. She also says that her honorary (doctorate), given in 2004 when the checks and money scandals in COPAO happened, "was untainted by money". It was also the year she went on a Bahamas cruise.



Cudal Lays Blame on COPAO Scandal to 'Conniving Cheats'


SAN DIEGO - For the first time in nearly three years, Aurora Cudal laid the blame on the unresolved scandals in the Council of Philippine American Organizations (COPAO) on people she calls "conniving cheats", thus exculpating herself from any responsibility even when she was its president.

The surprising move to speak up was apparently triggered by what she alluded to as "innuendoes and false accusations (that) have become so blatant and irritating" -- ostensibly a reference to the spate of stories about her activities in 2004 when $27,000 disappeared from COPAO.

Cudal named Pastor Romen Rivera, Norma de Guzman and Charito Balanag "who -- I strongly feel -- betrayed me and tarnished my valuable record of accomplishments. I consider myself as a victim of conniving cheats . . . "

The three were the vice president for finance, treasurer and auditor, respectively, of COPAO when Cudal was the president in 2004. None of them was immediately available for comment on the accusations.

Cudal also downplayed former COPAO president Oscar Garcia who she said had "recently claimed credit for COPAO Building". "The truth is," she said, "it was during my terms of office that I initiated the purchase of the building (1997-1998) and paid the building in full (2003-2004)".

COPAO had censured Rivera and De Guzman, but not Cudal and Balanag, early this year. The rebuke has been blamed by Rivera's family for the stroke he suffered and from which he's still recovering.

"If Mr. Marquez really wants to really go to the bottom of the missing $27,000, now you know who to direct your 'journalistic investigative skill' you brag so much," Cudal said in a rejoinder e-mailed Thursday night (Sept. 20) by her friend and newfound spokesman Philip Pinpin.

Pinpin is the home-based insurance agent who had occupied a make-believe position as "chairman" of a non-existing editorial board of the old Philippine Mabuhay News. His wife, Connie Pinpin, was the paper's advertising manager at that time.

The paper had exposed the couple after they were videotaped stealing hundreds of copies of PMN from a news rack at Manila Seafood market. A copy of the videotape has been furnished the National City police.

Why it took years for Cudal to try to come clean, and why she chose to release her statement through a person of questionable motives and integrity were not explained by either Cudal or Pinpin.

Questions sent to them were not answered. Cudal said, however, that she "wrote every word of my Rejoinder" to dismiss suggestions that Pinpin had a hand in crafting it.

Cudal claimed a "conspiracy" existed to make her "an escape goat to the missing money" and named this reporter as "part of the conspiracy" for continuously reporting about the scandals in COPAO.

"Marquez's innuendos and character assassinations are damaging to my integrity and accomplishments," she alleged.

The facts were that in 2004 when Cudal was COPAO president, she took an expensive cruise in the Bahamas, went to the Philippines for a honorary, stonewalled on an audit, got appointed to a position that required residency in the City of San Diego, although she lived with her husband in a seniors center in the City of Chula Vista. That was the year $27,000 disappeared.

Cudal said she "was shocked in disbelief" when it was uncovered that $27,000 were missing and some checks were forged. She explained that she counted 47 checks "all paid to cash and signed by me".

"My signature was scrutinized by the bank. All of my signatures did not match the 8 specimen signatures that the bank kept," she stressed.

In earlier interviews, however, Pastor Rivera said that when shown by the police, he found Cudal's signatures on the questioned checks as authentic.

Later when asked by the police, Cudal claimed she told an investigator that "I do not sign 'pay to cash checks'." She did not identify the recipients of the checks, however.

"I would like to uphold my integrity and honor, and the reputation I've built through the years," she emphasized.

Cudal, who always quotes from the Bible to make her semi-religious column in the entertainment paper Filipino Press look genuine and believable, also expressed her wish for this reporter, in her own words: "May he rest in hell!'.

Philippine Village Voice - Redefining Community News


Issue No. 70 / News Without Fear or Favor /

. . . 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 07:47

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