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Aug 23rd
Home Columns San Diego Happenings Pastor Rivera Asks COPAO to Identify Check Recipients
Pastor Rivera Asks COPAO to Identify Check Recipients PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - San Diego Happenings
Saturday, 19 May 2007 08:08
The News UpFront: TOP STORY in San Diego, CA, as of Saturday, 19 May 2007: 
~~ From his sickbed at the Paradise Valley Hospital, Pastor Romen Rivera declares he wasn't going to stop hounding COPAO until it is revealed who took the $27,000 from its coffers. Renewing his demand to rescind a resolution censuring him, which apparently triggered the paralyzing stroke, Rivera also asks COPAO to name the recipients of the 50 checks that had been "paid to cash". In the meantime, despite the missing $27,000 and the check forgeries, COPAO indulges itself in a lavish party tonight.
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Pastor Rivera Asks COPAO: Identify Who Received the
Checks, Don't Stop Looking for the Missing $27,000!
"Hindi naman ako kasali doon. Hindi naman ako naka-pirma. Bakit sila naga-galit sa akin?"

"I am not involved. I did not sign. Why are they angry at me," he was saying in the vernacular, his speech slightly slurred but soft and clear, punctuated like it was in cadence, the torrent evidently resulting from a combination of emotions and the sudden turn of events.

As he answered questions, Pastor Rivera's eyes sparkled with the glimmer of suppressed tears, as if a dam was going to burst. He was clearly grasping for meaning, for why a servant of God like him would be ganged up and mocked by people in an organization he had been long out of.
A patch of hair had been shaved off his head, on the right side where surgeons had burrowed to remove blood clots in his brain 19 days ago, barely 24 hours after he had a stroke while working on a letter in his home computer demanding that COPAO (Council of Philippine American Organizations) rescind a recent resolution censuring him for alleged dereliction of duty as its vice president for finance.
"He fell from his chair and couldn't get up," his wife, Linda Rivera, recalled when it happened on Monday, April 30. "Then he told me -- his speech already a drawl -- that he felt weakened on the left side of his body". That was when they summoned the paramedics who brought him to the hospital.
"All that time he was conscious. He was alert and he answered all the questions," Mrs. Rivera added.
Indeed, far from debilitating his mind and body, Pastor Rivera, head of the San Diego branch of the Gospel Life Ministry in National CIty, was at his fightingest, as this interview with him yesterday (Friday, May 18) indicated.
"Hindi pa yan tapos!" he declared with a firm resolve to pursue the case of the missing $27,000 and the check forgeries that occurred when Aurora Cudal was COPAO president and he, Rivera, was vice president for finance.
Rivera was a check signatory like Cudal and COPAO treasurer Norma DeGuzman were. In the 50 checks claimed to have been forged, none had Rivera's signature, a fact that prompted police investigators to clear him.
Forty-three of the 50 checks bore the alleged signature of Cudal. Though Cudal disowned the signature,  investigators asked her to provide specimens of her signature. She has admitted signing her name a hundred times, apparently in compliance with the police demand.
It is not very clear if the missing $27,000 had all been encashed using the 50 checks, which were actually made out as "pay to cash."
"Bakit hindi nila masabi kung sino ang tumanggap ng mga cheque?" (why can't they say who got all those checks?) said Rivera who remained flat on his back, not moving, during this bedside interview.
"Ang ipinagtataka ko pa ay bakit hindi nila hanapin ang $27,000," (I wonder why they're no longer looking for the $27,000), he added. "Hindi tama yan. Bakit kalilimutan na lang?" (It's not right; why would they just forget it?")
COPAO has officially closed the books on the scandals even if there's still a chance to track down the persons responsible. In fact, an official of the District Attorney's Office has suggested reporting the loss to the Internal Revenue Service.
Rivera singled out Cudal as angry with him. "Kasi sinabihan ko siya: (Because I told her:) 'I don't know what doctor you are, but I know who I am'. Doon siya nagalit!" (that's when she was upset).
Since his hospitalization 20 days ago, nobody from COPAO has visited, called, emailed or sent letters to Rivera. Meantime, preparations are in full swing for the grand party today, Saturday (May 19) honoring the latest batch of beauty queens who brought money to the organization by selling tickets.
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Please watch the tribute to our Filipino veterans as narrated by Lou Diamond Philips and forward it to your friends: AN UNTOLD TRIUMPH - US ARMY FILIPINO REGIMENT.

The full video documentary may be viewed at, - click UNTOLD TRIUMPH

We also honor two Filipino-American veterans who served two grateful nations: Saturnino Palicte and Armin Posadas.

Take a video break and watch this tribute brought to you by CACN NEWS.

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(For details and other news, please read the May 2007 issue of the Philippine Village Voice. An online version is available soon at This Breaking News may be posted online, broadcast or reprinted, but not edited, on condition that the author and the paper be credited. By Romeo P. Marquez, Editor, Philippine Village Voice). 19 May 2007.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 25 October 2007 07:50

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