Marivir R. Montebon
PIDCI cannot continue to use a shady system of election. The upcoming Board has to redeem the community’s trust.
New York – The PIDCI released a statement on its website this weekend following the release of the special report of The FilAm and OSM!. True enough, it pointed to the mistake of one person, the former treasurer, as having caused the woes of PIDCI. “This unfortunate occurrence was committed by only one person but has gravely affected PIDCI and its leaders.”
Putting the blame on one person is a lame excuse for PIDCI to do. It took a case filed before the Supreme Court for the stipulation to release finance documents openly to the Philippine community here. It also had to take special media reports for PIDCI to finally write an official statement to hear its side on the nagging issues on accountability and transparency that it has to answer to the community.
Finally, PIDCI admitted that its 501 © 3 status was revoked due to the non-filing of 990 tax returns by Violeta McGough, the past treasurer. But in 2018, it has continued to lie to the public about its status by posting on its sponsorship proposal that donations may be tax-exempt under US laws. The question remains, why did PIDCI have to lie?
And yes, it is lame to blame everything on Violeta McGough. PIDCI’s long silence and evasion from the media did not help either, because this is a public issue.
The Board’s fiduciary duty is mandatory upon all its members. The years 2013-2015 of non-compliance with the IRS were too long for the Board to not have noticed, if you were doing the regular system of finance reporting and checks and balances.
Nonetheless, the PIDCI statement goes on to say that “The PIDCI leadership has learned from it and has become more vigilant when finances are involved.” Word.
The October 6 elections is at hand. What is urgent is the change in PIDCI’s proxy system. In the past, we have seen the corruption of this system. Many have seen proxy voters coming from nowhere to vote during elections. It is horrifying to witness such system being done in New York as much as it was done in Philippine elections. The proxy system must end in this upcoming election.
For PIDCI to say it “remains steadfast in its adherence to the bylaws that govern the organization. And calls for changes before October 6 could not be made due to time constraints” makes it inflexible and unrelenting to implement the proxy system, despite its sheer dishonesty and corruptibility.
PIDCI had one year to change that proxy system, among other things, if it was listening to the clamor of community organizations. President Ner Martinez had made it his campaign and post-election promise to improve the systems of PIDCI.
As Consul General Claro Cristobal had said, transparency and accountability remains the challenge and burden of the PIDCI Board.
I fervently hope that the proxy system be done away with this 2018 elections. I pray for humility and wisdom. PIDCI cannot continue to use a shady system of election. The upcoming Board has to redeem the community’s trust. It should begin its mandate with integrity so that meaningful changes could be completed.
Petitioners Juliet Payabyab and Nieva Burdick in the 2017 case filed before the Supreme Court asked PIDCI to present in court the proxies used in the 2017 elections. In her decision, Judge Jaffe noted that “according to petitioner’s counsel (Lara Gregory) respondents’ counsel (Manny Quintal) indicated that the proxies have been destroyed.”
Here again is an example of evasion from transparency and accountability.
If PIDCI leaders remain blind to the community’s clamor of decency during elections and transparency and accountability in its conduct of business, support and participation in the parade will continue to dwindle. No amount of fakery can hide the truth of declining support. The vigor of PIDCI relies on the trust of the community.