34 of 101 members voted today
By Marivir R. Montebon and Cristina DC Pastor
New York – The PIDCI elections started slowly on the cloudy Saturday of October 6, with a handful of member organizations coming in to vote. At the day’s early end, PIDCI had consolidated itself with a new leadership, without competition, against those who raised the nagging issues on transparency and accountability by the Fil-am community here.
Newly appointed Comelec chair Rely Manacay declared an election with a quorum of 15 member groups in attendance past noontime. Under the PIDCI bylaws, 1/10 of the electorate can call for elections, or 11 of the 101 confirmed new members.
There essentially was no contest, for incumbent president Ner Martinez ran unopposed with the non-renewal of the membership of UNIFFIED and the subsequent denial of its president Ronie Mataquel to run opposite Martinez.
In his speech, Martinez spoke of the “challenges PIDCI had to face” and vowed “to stand by its bylaws and be proactive.”
Martinez garnered 33 votes of the 34 voting organizations. The newly elected Board members are: Cora Koltsidis, Linda Limcaco, Margarita Wisotsky, Ben Vierneza, Myrna Young (thru a representative), Buenafe Manongdo, and Allan Rico Viray.
An open forum was conducted after each candidate delivered her/his campaign speech.
Alex Esteban of Handang Tumulong Foundation asked to be clarified about how the decision to terminate the membership of UNIFFIED, Fiesta in America, PCCSA, and United Mindoro was reached. Quoting the Board decision, Martinez cited that the groups were “a detriment and meaning to discredit PIDCI” as the cause for non-renewal of membership.
He also said that 10 Board members made the decision, as they believed that “the pending case was detrimental and had discredited PIDCI.”
In turn, Esteban posed a follow-up, saying that there was no quorum to terminate the 4 member organizations. Under the PIDCI bylaws, 3/4 of the Board (or 11 of 14 members) should vote for non-renewal of membership.
As Esteban tried to pursue more questions, Comelec chair Manacay called to stop the open forum to proceed with the elections in the interest of time.
Manacay however gave in to one last question on the floor, sought by this writer, whether or not due process could be given the expelled members.
Martinez had called on Atty. Quintal to provide an answer.
Quintal explained: “there is no infinite prohibition for any organization to reapply. But it is up for the Board if approved or denied, as a right to self-preservation. As policy-making body, it has the authority to decide.”
In a separate statement, Esteban said he was not satisfied with Martinez’s answer on the lack of quorum to terminate the membership of the 4 organizations. He also felt the forum was cut short by Comelec chair when he insisted to ask questions from each candidate.
On the matter of the reinstatement of PIDCI’s 501 c 3 status, Ner Martinez said PIDCI is working to regain it.
Treasurer Nora Galeros said that PIDCI will publish its audited 2018 financial report on the PIDCI website on October 30, 2018.
She also explained that PIDCI had instituted changes, among which was to group its income by the events it conducts. (Featured photo: Atty. Quintal swears to office Ner Martinez and new Board directors of PIDCI at Dahon in Queens.)