For lack of exhaustive means to resolve the matter internally
By Marivir R. Montebon
New York – The New York State Supreme Court yesterday denied the petition to nullify the October 7, 2017 elections of the Philippine Independence Council Inc. (PIDCI) citing the lack of exhaustive means to resolve the matter internally.
Justice Barbara Jaffee, in a three-page decision signed on May 29, 2018, said that “Absent in any indication in the petition or motion papers that petitioners exhausted the internal administrative remedies for resolving grievances, or that they deny or explain their failure to do so, this proceeding is premature and petition is dismissed.”
As of press time, the reaction of PIDCI officials is still being sought.
Honorary Grand Marshal Amb. Mario de Leon Jr. said that the decision was timely and a relief because it was released a few days before the independence day parade. “I fervently hope that healing will start in the Filipino community,” he said in an interview with OSM!.
Amb. de Leon served as Consul General of New York from 2011 to 2016 and retired from public service in 2017. The Philippine Consulate of New York initially organized the Philippine festivities with the participation of community organizations until PIDCI was incorporated in 2002 as a not-for-profit 501 (c) 3 organization. This year, PIDCI leads the 120th independence commemoration of the Philippines as the first republic in Asia with the parade and cultural festivities on June 3 on Madison Avenue.
Counsel for the petitioners Giovanni Alo said that the decision on the elections did not come as a surprise because the main focus of the petitioners has always been accountability and transparency of PIDCI. “The fact the court practically ordered PIDCI to produce the financial records is to us, already a vindication of the petitioners. The court had earlier upheld our position that PIDCI should be transparent and provide financial records to the members,” said Alo in a statement furnished to OSM!.
The petitioners, the United Mindoro International and the Philippine Community Center Services for the Aging, sued PIDCI on the latter part of 2017 for financial accountability and failure of elections.
Justice Jaffe noted an earlier stipulation for PIDCI to produce the financial reports as its fiduciary duties early this year. The counsel of the petitioners said it will follow up the court on the matter of the stipulation for financial records.
(Photo by Lambert Parong. A PIDCI preparation meeting to the June 3 Parade on Madison Avenue held at the Philippine Center.)