NEW YORK – Tapos na! (It is finished!) That’s how some people in the community reacted to the recent notice of the membership committee of the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI) on the status of five member-organizations which were cut from PIDCI roster when they re-applied for 2019.
The member-organizations that were terminated are United Mindoro International, Philippine Fiesta, Tarlaquenos USA, United Federation of Fil-Am Educators (Uniffied) and Philippine Community Center Services for Aging. Consequently, individuals representing these organizations who are seeking to run for an office in the upcoming PIDCI elections on October 6 are not eligible.
The Philippine Daily Mirror has learned that members from these organizations have filed their intentions to run: Ronie Mataquel (Uniffied), president; Juliet Payabyab (United Mindoro International), director; and Fernando Mendez (Philippine Fiesta), director. Aida Gamolo’s application was likewise rejected for failure to indicate which position she was seeking. All four ran for office in 2017 and lost.
In the committee’s letter, chaired by Matt Reyes with Chris de Guzman, denying the organizations’ renewal of membership, PIDCI cited provisions of its by-laws: Article IV, Section 5, and Article VI, Section 2E. Article IV, Section 5 states: “Membership in PIDCI shall be deemed terminated upon failure to pay the annual membership dues, failure to maintain at least ten (10) individual members, or expulsion by at least three-fourths (3/4) votes of all members of the Board at a meeting duly held for commission of any act or acts that are detrimental to PIDCI.”
Article VI, Section 2E states: “Any candidate for President or Director must meet all the following qualifications and requirements: xxx E. Must have no pending suit against PIDCI or any of its incumbent directors. xxx”
The Philippine Daily Mirror sought comments from the three affected applicants but only Mataquel responded at press time.
Mataquel, who sat by the proxy table at last year’s election and carried away by Comelec officials, said the “termination is purely an act of harassment, biased and unfair.” Uniffied, he said, has been up to date with membership dues with more than 500 members and a legitimate 501c3 organization in good standing.
“I can’t think of any act deemed to be detrimental to PIDCI either,” explained Mataquel. “I don’t have any pending suit against PIDCI.” He also claimed that he was recognized by PIDCI for his outstanding contribution as a marching band coordinator in 2014-2016 and “gratefully appreciated” for his voluntary contribution as a parade chairman and membership chair in 2017 aside from being a member of the PIDCI Board.
“Such recognition only proves that I contributed much to the betterment of PIDCI,” he said. “If you are serving the community in good faith you don’t deserve to be ejected while seated on a chair doing a noble job – a voluntary job.”
“We are just enforcing PIDCI bylaws in the spirit of transparency,” said Sofia Abad, a PIDCI director.
Social media comments
Meanwhile, some individuals reacted in the social media:
Jenny GC: “I hope [a] majority of all the community starts to understand what this organization is trying to do. It has now become a totalitarian!”
Ledy Almadin: “Detrimental to PIDCI? or detrmiental to who?”.
Ann Constantino Beck: “Gosh! What are the grounds for rejection? [The] situation is getting intense. I wish conflict between parties could be fixed.”
Loudette Avelino: “Every institution or organization have rules which must be followed and you respect those rules. If you violate any, and apparently they (those who have been declared unqualified) have violated a rule or some rules, then they face the consequences!!!”
PIDCI elections are set for October 6 at Dahon on 43-10 52nd St., Woodside, NY 11377. The program will start at 11 a.m. A president and 7 members of the Board are to be elected. “Earlier, it was scheduled at the Philippine Center but we were informed that it will not be available on that day,” said Rely Manacay, chairman of the Committee on Elections. Its members are Joyce Aligarbes and Sofie Abad.
Manacay confirmed the candidacies of the following individuals: Ner Martinez, president; Dora Koltsides, Erlinda Limcaco, Buenafe Manongdo, Ben Vierneza, Allan Rico Viray, Margie Wisotsky and Myrna Young, directors. Aida Gamolo did not indicate the position she was seeking and was disqualified.
There are 101 organizations which have been approved by the Board to cast their votes. Proxy votes, which had been the biggest concern of the opposition in the previous year will still be allowed according to Manacay.
“We’ve taken corrective measures to improve this process and make it more clear and transparent,” said Manacay.
Manacay also said that the Board discussed revising the bylaws this year but the Board was pre-occupied with the lawsuit of Payabyab, Nieva Burdick and their organizations in November 2017. The lawsuit was dismissed by the New York State Supreme Court but their lawyers have filed an appeal to renew and reargue their case. No court ruling has yet been issued.