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Apr 05th
Home Columns San Diego Happenings Three Fil-Am Leaders Barred from Sorority's Event
Three Fil-Am Leaders Barred from Sorority's Event PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - San Diego Happenings
Tuesday, 28 August 2007 06:05

The News UpFront: (TOP STORY) as of Tuesday, 28 August 2007

~ Three individuals identified as part of a group planning to sabotage the Maria Clara de Pilipinas Sorority's gala event on Sept. 2 will be barred from the function in which top National City and Philippine officials are the main guests. A reader has called them "terrorists" and "obstructionists".


'Saboteurs' Identified, Ordered Barred from Gala Event


SAN DIEGO - A social-climbing matron identified with a local networking agency and two officials of the organization involved in check forgeries and in the missing $27,000 are among the individuals who will be barred from a community event on Sunday, Sept. 2.

As the day of the gala celebrating the 39th year of Maria Clara de Pilipinas Sorority neared, attendance was anticipated to soar past the goal of 300 persons, said MCPS founder and chief executive officer Mrs. Lucy R. Gonzales.

Interest in the annual affair has heightened considerably in the last several days after it was disclosed that the Council of Philippine American Organizations (COPAO) and its top officials, including its president Rita Andrews, started a campaign to sabotage its staging at the Sheraton Hotel and Marina on Harbor Island Drive near the San Diego airport.

Apparently, the networking organization Mabuhay Alliance has teamed up with COPAO to try to pressure MCPS and Mrs. Gonzales to stop their recognition of the editor of the Philippine Village Voice, who is actually one of seven honorees from the media.

Mrs. Gonzales identified Rita Andrews and Faith Bautista, an employee of Mabuhay Alliance who claims a leadership role in the community for a networking job she is well-paid to do, as the co-authors of a petition seeking the recall of the award being bestowed on the PVV editor.

The recognition was for a story that Mrs. Gonzales called an "excellent article" about the late patriot Carlos Riego de Dios Linayao who passed away on July 4, 2006. The PVV coverage was a tribute to Linayao's efforts to unify the community through a single commemoration of Philippine independence on June 12.

Andrews, Bautista and a third person, Aurora Cudal -- the COPAO president when the check forgeries happened and the $27,000 vanished -- will not be admitted during the event, according to Mrs. Gonzales.

"It's getting too much. People are blaming other people for the wrong reasons," Mrs. Gonzales explained, saying a group she called "social illiterates" were out to embarrass MCPS and its lineup of guests.

National City Mayor Ron Morrison is the main speaker. San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre is also a guest. From the Philippines, the special guests are Olongapo City Mayor James Gordon and his wife Anne Gordon, currently vice governor of Zambales province.

Andrews and some officials of COPAO had been seen soliciting signatures for the petition. A few of the signatories told the Philippine Village Voice that they were made to believe the signing sheet was for another activity.

"We didn't know it was to be attached to the petition to stop MCPS from giving the recognition," said a signatory who declined to be identified for fear of embarrassing COPAO.

Mrs. Gonzales said the MCPS is standing firm on its decision to hand over the recognition to the PVV editor. She said the idea of COPAO dictating on MCPS was preposterous.

She said she could not believe that Andrews, herself an awardee of MCPS awhile back, would initiate such action against MCPS. She also expressed surprised at Bautista's interference. Cudal has an axe to grind against MCPS, Mrs. Gonzales indicated.

Andrews and Cudal are supportive of each other. Andrews has led COPAO pass a resolution officially closing any discussion on the 50 allegedly forged checks and the $27,000 that disappeared during Cudal's presidency of COPAO.

Cudal, currently "associate editor" of the entertainment paper the Filipino Press, has previously admitted being investigated by the police. She also confessed that her name was signed in 43 of the 50 checks in question. The police had asked her to provide signature specimens.

Bautista, on the other hand, never liked the idea of being written about as an employee of Mabuhay Alliance who is amply compensated for initiating networking activities among community organizations.

Many people and organizations actually thought she was a volunteer. Little did they know she was drawing a huge salary from the alliance and given other perks that allow her to travel.

"This is a case of sour grapes because some else, not they, will get an award of recognition from a stronger and more solid organization like MCPS that's headed by a dynamic leader like Mrs. Gonzales", commented reader V. M. Crisologo.

"I can't believe what lengths vindictive people can go. . . All the others who signed the petition are pathetic yes-men and yes-women," she added.

"Let Ms. Gonzales stand tall and firm against these 'terrorists', 'obstructionists' in COPAO," Crisologo said.

Mrs. Gonzales and Andrews had a face-to-face confrontation during a recent retirement party for Judge Lillian Lim. Agitated, she almost suffocated in anger because Andrews had raised her voice to the point of yelling at her.

"Andrews told me 'they (COPAO) want to protect me from that evil man (referring to the PVV editor)'," Mrs. Gonzales recalled. "I realize that it was a judgement call and I wasn't to make that judgement on Romeo Marquez".

She said she told Andrews to settle her differences with the PVV editor rather than with MCPS. "Who is to say that Romeo Marquez is evil just because of his stories about COPAO?"

Mrs. Gonzales said the COPAO petition dated July 19 was received by MCPS a month later on Aug. 20. "Obviously, they waited that long for the signatures to come," she said.

The seven media persons MCPS will honor during its celebration 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.

Another highlight of the event is the Ako ay Pilipino 2007 Ladies of Elegance selected for the presentation, namely: 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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