I’ve decided to go back to writing an opinion column after struggling with an answer when I returned from an assignment in Cambodia. This space will now be known as Cornerstone instead of One on One, which was previously the title of my column when it was carried by a Jersey City-based publication.
This decision is in response to the community’s call for revival, that is, engaging community leaders and the community to a discussion of a wide range of issues affecting us. I would like to pursue my goal — and perhaps that of the community as well — of encouraging community leaders to lead their organizations with accountability, transparency and integrity.
First off is one of my favorite topics to talk about.
I am a fan of PIDCI because I believe in the organization. But we, as a community, deserve more from its leaders. We deserve more than just delivering a grand parade on Madison Avenue on every first Sunday of June. We need unity instead of under-handedness and triviality. We need vision instead of commotion.
I refuse to believe that P.T. Barnum also had PIDCI in mind when he invented circus. But considering how people perceive PIDCI these days in the conduct of electing its president and directors, it may well be a circus that’s been going on. And more importantly, in the management of its business as a public charity corporation.
The process of electing its president and directors is clearly stated in its bylaws and policies but as a fellow journalist says, it may be subject to manipulation. Is this possible?
For example, this year, the membership committee, headed by PIDCI secretary Ner Martinez, holds a list of member organizations. It is considered an important committee especially at election time. It sends out membership renewal notices to organizations; it also provides a list of member organizations that are eligible vote on election day.
Albert Diala, who intends to run for the presidency, has repeatedly requested for a copy of this list but he has not received a response.
According to PIDCI Policy Manual, “…Such list shall be open for inspection upon written request of any member. The inspection shall take place at the official address of PIDCI or within a reasonable time on the day of any membership meeting.”
Why was Diala being ignored and denied of his request?
In addition, in a recent random survey of member organizations, many of them have not received their renewal notice yet compared to those that are likely to support the administration’s favored candidates.
Is it a coincidence these organizations did not receive their notice because they are supporting an opposing “party”? Were these organizations deliberately ignored?
In the appointment of committees, the Manual states that “the president shall see to it that members of the standing committees are appointed within two months after election.” This should have been done sometime in December 2014.
Was this policy observed?
Another important committee that may be subject to manipulation is the Election Committee (Comelec). Director Raul Estrellado is the chairperson. No other committee members are known.
Although the names of three potential presidential candidates have been floated around; namely, Albert Diala, Prospero Lim and Angie Molina, their Certificate of Candidacies (CoC) are not in yet as of August 28. Estrellado said only eight CoCs were received — none of which is for the presidency.
He declined to name these candidates pending review and approval of their CoCs. Who has the ultimate say whether these candidates qualify or not?
I wonder why there are few people filing their CoC’s. I would like to attribute this lackluster response to three reasons: (1) there was no announcement in the media about this filing deadline; (2) many organizations are still waiting to receive the renewal notice; and (3) organizations no longer trust the process and have been discouraged by the current leadership’s obvious support to who it wants to be elected. Personally handpicked candidates, is it?
How about the treasury of PIDCI, you ask. The Manual says, the “treasurer shall report at all regular meetings of the Board and the membership”. The absence of the treasurer in at least two Board and membership meetings has raised a concern. Is there a deliberate act of omission in money matters?
In the spirit of transparency, accountability and integrity, the community needs answers to these questions if PIDCI leadership were to make the upcoming elections legitimate.
Deliberate act of omission?