Monthly Archives: April 2013

MAKING A DIFFERENCE WITHOUT WALLOWING IN POLITICS

JGL Eye

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

(© 2013 Fil Am Extra Exchange)

CAROL STREAM, Illinois (FAXX/jGLi) – Unlike the father of Sorsogon re-electionist Sen. Francis “Chiz’ Escudero, who discouraged Chiz from running for elective office, the father of Escudero’s province mate, Loida Nicolas Lewis, groomed her in politics early in life.

In fact, her father, Francisco J. Nicolas, gave her name recognition a head start while she was still a young student, by naming one of the first movie houses in the province after her – Loida – in the capital city of Sorsogon, instead of his three other children.

When another accomplished Filipino American – Cook County Judge Jessica O’Brien in Illinois – asked Attorney Lewis last April 12 here if she ever has entertained plans of running for office in the Philippines, her response was short and swift: “No. Kakainin tayo ng buhay, (politics will eat us alive) if we run (for office) in the Philippines. Voters are poor. You have to give them money. They get your money (but they can) not to be trusted. If you run, run to win. If you run for principle, gaga ka (you are nuts.)”

Of course, another militating factor for her not to enter politics in the Philippines is the injunction for her to give up first her U.S. citizenship, a Constitution ban, which many dual citizen Filipinos want scrapped.

So, instead of politics, Ms. Lewis now sticks by with what she does best – keep up with her advocacies with her fellow members of the U.S. Pinoys For Good Government (USP4GG) as watchdogs to politicians, who stray off the straight path.

She said, when someone proposed to bury the late Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (National Heroes Cemetery), “we were there to stand in the way.” Ironically, it was a congressional resolution authored by Senator Escudero’s father, the late Congressman Salvador “Sonny” Escudero, one of the sponsors of my wedding, who sponsored the resolution to give Mr. Marcos a heroes burial, which did not get off the ground.

Ms. Lewis was in town as one of the motivational speakers to what was billed as “Billionaire’s Expo” held at the Holiday Inn & Suites at 150 S. Gary Avenue sponsored by IPJM in cooperation with twice-monthly Fil-Am MegaScene of nearby Buffalo Grove, Illinois.

THE 1-MILLION OAV’s

On the side, she also endorsed eight of the 12 senatorial candidates of the PNoy Team that the nearly one million registered Filipino overseas absentee voters out of the estimated 9.5- to 12.5-million should vote by mail from April 13 to May 13 elections. Overseas voters will also be voting for one Party-List representative. If the registered overseas Filipinos would turn up in droves, the votes could spell victory or defeat for candidates contesting the 12th spot.

A leading overseas political campaigner and fund-raiser for the Noynoy-Mar 2010 presidential elections that resulted in a split victory to President Aquino, Attorney Lewis is also grounded on local politics in keeping with the truism that all politics are local.

She is now being viewed by bickering local politicians’ as their lifeline to political gods like Secretary Mar Roxas, the presumed standard bearer of the Liberal Party in the 2016 presidential elections.

Sorsogon provincial board member Vladimir Ramon B. Frivaldo, the official candidate for Vice Governor in Sorsogon under the Liberal Party, sought the help of this columnist to bring his complaint to Attorney Lewis for Mr. Roxas to impose party discipline on 2nd District Sorsogon Rep. Diogracias “Ding” Ramos,” Sorsogon and Provincial LP Co-Chairman, for not recognizing Mr. Renato “Ato” Laurinaria, LP official candidate for Sorsogon governor, and himself as LP vice gubernatorial candidate in Sorsogon.

Mr. Ramos, instead, endorsed an independent gubernatorial candidate. Mr. Frivaldo wants Ms. Lewis to relay this confusion to Mr. Roxas.

And as a Bicolana, Ms. Lewis was also invited by Ms. Evelyn R. Tolledo, president of Bikol U.S.A. of the Midwest, to be the guest of honor and speaker at the national convention of Bikol National Associations of America in Chicago, Illinois on July 25-27, 2014.

Aside from local politics, Attorney Lewis is also attuned to international affairs, involving the Philippines. Last year, she was a godsend to Filipino nationalists, who could not speak openly against Chinese aggression in Philippine Western Sea (South China Sea). She advocated for the boycott of Chinese products around the world by urging overseas Filipinos to hold rallies before the Philippine Embassy and different consulates in the U.S. On Aug 21, 2013, it will be a much bigger rally, she warned.

SPOTTY CHINESE INTELLIGENCE EXPOSED

Her boycott call must have been so effective that when she led a rally in Makati, she saw her face on a Chinese footage carried by a local TV denouncing her as China’s “Public Enemy No. 1. The footage urged Chinese to boycott her Beatrice products in Mainland China, eh, nabenta ko na ito! (I already sold out my products in China!),” evoking laughter from her audience.

Ms. Lewis’ feat of attracting the attention of China was a coup of sorts as it exposed China’s spotty intelligence apparatus for calling for a boycott of Beatrice products based on false information – a bum steer (koryente).

Ms. Lewis congratulated the government of President Aquino for piling up over $80-billion in reserves since he took power from Gloria Macapagal Arroyo; for improving the investment grade of the country to triple “B” rating in 2012; for turning the GDP growth as No. 3 in Southeast Asia at 6.6 % economic expansion with China as first and Turkey, second; for the International Monetary Fund to ask the Philippines to lend Spain $1.3-billion. “Isn’t it amazing? Spain brought us Christianity but was repressive to us, but is now saved by the Philippines!”

She added another feather in President Aquino’s cap is the elevation of Secretary of Finance Cesar Purisima as the best finance minister in the world by a financial magazine.

The philanthropist, who helped raised a portion of “blood money” for the release of Rodelio Celestino “Dondon” Lanuza, said Mr. Lanuza is going to be released next month from Death Row in Saudi Arabia after the Saudi King Abdullahoffered to fork over a substantial balance of 2.3 million Saudi Riyals (P25 million) of the total 3 million Saudi Riyals (P33 million) to spare Lanuza’s life. She credits this columnist for bringing Mr. Lanuza’s case to her attention.

But for all the accolades she heaped on President Aquino, she dumbed down Mr. Aquino for his handling of the Sabah issue. “The Sultan of Sulu wrote him letters three times and nothing happened.  They (the Sultan’s men) invaded Sabah. Why go on TV (and threaten the Sultan with jail)? (Bakit hindi niya tawagan ang Sultan nariyan lang sa Taguig?) (Why didn’t he call the Sultan, who is just there in Taguig? And tell him, “What do you want? Let’s talk.” Paghindi niya ginawa yan, napakasimple. Otherwise, he is doing good.” (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

Atty. Loida N Lewis

FAXX/jGLi Photo of Atty. Loida N. Lewis.

JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

Correspondent
Fil Am Extra Exchange
Journal Group Link International
P. O. Box 30110
Chicago IL 60630
U.S.A.
Tel. 312.772.5454
Telefax 312.428.5714 
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FIL AM GROUP ENDORSES 8 TEAM PNOY SENATORIAL BETS, JUNKS ENRI

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

(© 2013 Fil Am Extra Exchange)

CAROL STREAM, Illinois (FAXX/jGLi) – Filipino American business tycoon Loida Nicolas Lewis, co-leader of the U.S. Pinoys For Good Governance (USP4GG), disclosed here on the eve of the start of the absentee voting for overseas Filipinos on Friday (April 12) that USP4GG is endorsing at least eight of the 12 Team PNoy senatorial candidates to give President Noynoy Aquino a majority in the Philippine senate for the next three year. But she clarified the endorsement should “not let [President Aquino become] a dictator but only to get things done properly.”

The ageless and tireless civil rights activist said USP4GG would also be campaigning for the election of two Independent candidates (Edward Hagedorn and Bro. Eddie Villanueva) “who are straight (honest) at hindi ipagbibili ang bayan(who will not betray the people). But she will be campaigning against a senatorial candidate accused of murdering an actor during martial law (Rep. Jack Enrile).

The credibility of the USP4GG gained traction in 2010 elections when majority of its endorsed senatorial slate in the 2010 won in the presidential elections, including then Sen. Noynoy Aquino, who won the presidency. But its vice presidential bet, former Senator and now DILG Sec. Mar Roxas, lost to former Makati City Mayor Jojo Binay. There are about 900,000 registered Filipino overseas voters.

A Makati city resident and former law classmate of Vice President Binay, Attorney Lewis said she would still be backing Secretary Roxas if Mr. Roxas and Mr. Binay would have a return bout in the 2016 presidential elections.

She said Mr. Binay simply cannot toe the line of President Aquino’s call for a “tuwid na daan” (straight path) as Vice President Binay has surrounded himself with corrupt underlings with the likes of former Sen. Ernesto Maceda, who was accused of car smuggling and human trafficking while Philippine Ambassador to the United States under the President Joseph “Erap” Estrada Administration.

BINAY OWNS BAKERY

While then Mayor Binay was giving away birthday cakes to senior citizens of Makati, these cakes came from Binay’s bakery. A resident of luxury Rockwell condominium in Makati, Ms. Lewis said in every high-rise tower built in Makati, Mr. Binay has one condominium unit, like his daughter, who has a penthouse at Rockwell.

At the same time, the Bicolana businesswoman and lawyer from Sorsogon province is raising funds for the campaign of Atty. Leni Robredo, the widow of the late iconic DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo, who is running for congress of the third district of Camarines Sur under President Aquino’s Liberal Party. Mrs. Robredo, a very poor candidate, is running against a well-ensconced political dynasty — the wife of incumbent termed-out Rep. Luis R.  Villafuerte – Atty. Nelly Favis-Villafuerte, former Trade and Industry Undersecretary a columnist of Manila Bulletin.

The philanthropist urged Evelyn de la Rosa Tolledo, president of Chicago’s suburban Schiller Park, Illinois-based Bikol U.S.A. of the Midwest, to help her appeal to fellow Bikolanos to raise funds for Mrs. Robredo that Attorney Lewis will match and would turn over by April 30, 2013 to Mrs. Robredo. Ms. Tolledo, a native of Catanduanes, can be reached at 3809 Emerson Drive, Schiller Park, Illinois, 60167 U.S.A., Tel. 773.946.9668, or email address:evelynbikolusamid@gmail.com.  Checks are payable to Loida N. Lewis and at the memo of the check, “In Trust for Leni Robredo.”

In brief remarks before members of the Filipino community, Ms. Lewis thanked the community for supporting the causes of USP4GG, among them the election of President Aquino last May 2010. She said President Aquino needs continued support of overseas Filipinos for keeping his word to eliminate corruption in the Philippine bureaucracy. She credited Mr. Aquino with the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona and the passage of the contentious RH Bill, which spells out the need for spacing the children, which is vigorously opposed by the Catholic Church.

Lewis explained that when Mr. Aquino’s mother, the late President Cory Aquino, took power partly behind the support of the Catholic Church, there was no government policy on birth control. During that time, the Philippine population stood at 45-million. But after nearly 30 years, the Philippine population has doubled to 100-million.

MORE CHILDREN, MORE CHALLENGE TO FIND THEM JOBS

Lewis said, “If we don’t give women the right to decide the number of children in the family, the Philippines will lose its ability to find jobs for these children. This will force Filipinos to go to the ends of the world. Filipinos have now relocated to every part of the earth, including the God-forsaken and the coldest place on earth, Antarctica, where studies on earth are being carried out. There are three Filipina nurses working in Antarctica. There are even 2,000 families living in La Loma Cemetery in Manila and even under bridges.

“If you send your children to school, go to a puericulture center to get advice when pregnant and how to feed babies right and undergo vaccination and health check ups, the government gives away 1,500 Philippines pesos (US$36.00) a month under the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT). This is the program that weakens the existence of the New Peoples Army because the government is now taking care of the poorest of the poor in the Philippines,” she said.

The other speaker at the community interaction was Judge Jessica O’Brien, the first Filipino American elected Cook County Circuit Court judge, who narrated her early struggles growing up in Mandaue City in the Philippines.

The Team PNoy senatorial candidates that Attorney Lewis is endorsing for overseas Filipinos to vote by mail starting April 13 up to May 13, 2013 elections are: No. 2. Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino; No. 3. Benigno “Bam” Aquino, Liberal Party; No. 18. Risa Hontiveros, Akbayan Citizen’s Action Party; No. 19. Loren Legarda, Nationalist Peoples’ Action Party; No. 24. Ramon Magsaysay, Jr., Liberal Party; No. 27. Koko Pimentel, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan; and No. 13. Chiz Escudero, Independent; and the Independents are No. 16. Edward Hagedorn and No. 31. Bro. Eddie Villanueva, Bangon Pilipinas Party.

Being endorsed as one of the three Party-List Representatives are No. 117. Akbayan Citizens’ Action Party; No. 127. Ang Nars, Inc.; and No. 129. Coalition of Association of Senior Citizens in the Philippines; and being junked from senatorial slate is Rep. Jack Enrile.

CAYETANO, ESCUDERO VOTES EXPLAINED

Mrs. Lewis added Pia Cayetano into the mix for supporting the “RH” (Reproductive Health) bill. But Cayetano is not a candidate in next month’s elections  either as her term would still end in 2016. She might have in mind Cayetano’s younger brother Alan Peter Cayetano, who is also a part of Team PNoy and was one of the 13 senators who also voted for the passage of the RH bill.

Although, Senator Escudero is not in the endorsed list, Attorney Lewis is campaigning personally for Mr. Escudero, not only because he is her fellow Sorgogueno but Mr. Escudero has not been accused of big-time corruption baka maliliit lang (maybe petty ones). Although Mr. Escudero has not done anything to improve Sorsogon province except for the appropriation of 500,000 pesos (US$11,904.00) for a book on Sorsogon, he could not be entirely blamed because during the term of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Mr. Escudero was never allocated his pork barrel.

As former classmate of the mother of actor Alfie Anido, Sarah Serrano, at St. Theresa’s College, Mrs. Lewis said the family of Anido did not pursue the investigation of the murder of Anido whose death was being pinned on Jackie Enrile because during martial law the truth could not be established. She urged Filipinos to junk the senatorial candidacy of Jack Enrile even if Senate President Enrile will be mad at her.

Mrs. Lewis also accepted an invitation from Ms. Evelyn Tolledo to be the guest of honor and speaker of the 31st national convention of Bikol National Associations of America from July 25 to 27, 2014 to be held in Chicago area. The BNAA will be holding its 30th national convention this year at Oriental Hotel in Legazpi City from July 16-18 in cooperation with the Department of Tourism.

Among the initial donors for the Leni Robredo campaign fund drive are Bikol U.S.A of the Midwest, $100; and its members, Bob Tolledo, $20.00; Tony Blando, Romy Sarcilla of World Financial Group and Danilo Auro, $10.00 each; and Jun Delfin of Chicago’s suburban Palatine-based Unlimited Agency, Inc., $50.00.

Tony Blando, a classmate of Jesse Robredo and Joel Anselmo Cadiz, President Aquino’s former lawyer and Solicitor General and two-time president of Integrated Bar of the Philippines and running under Aquino’s Liberal Party banner, said Attorney Cadiz is facing termed-out 77-year-old Rep. Luis R. Villafuerte Sr. of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and the latter’s 23-year-old grandson, Miguel Villafuerte, of the Nacionalista Party, for the gubernatorial race in Camarines Sur. Mr. Cadiz had earlier requested his classmate, former Philippine prosecutor Carlos A. Cortes, Jr., a Chicago immigrant, to return to Camarines Sur to help him run for governor. Mr. Blando asked Attorney Lewis to support Mr. Cadiz if only to help totally topple the Villafuerte dynasty in the province..

Ms. Lewis was in town to speak on April 12-14 before “Billionaire’s Expo” at the Holiday Inn & Suites at 150 S. Gary Avenue here sponsored by IPJM in cooperation with twice-monthly Fil-Am MegaScene published and edited by Bart & Yoly Tubalinal of nearby Buffalo Grove, Illinois. The other featured guests at the event were Bishop Abraham Gaor, founder, “School of Wealth & Success,” and Pastor Armand Cudia, author of Shepherds Into Kings, Ms. Irene Alano-Rhodes of “Miss Saigon,” West End Theater, London and Dany Juat of “Papuri” singing group and IPJM Band. (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

Accepts BNAA Invite To Chicago

BIKOLANA TYCOON ACCEPTS BNAA INVITE:

Bikolana Filipino American Attorney Loida Nicolas Lewis (seated) holds the book, “Why Should White Guys Have All The Fun?,” a bio epic of her husband, Attorney Reginald Lewis, shortly after accepting last Friday, April 12, an invitation from Ms. Evelyn de la Rosa Tolledo (third from right), president of the Bikol U.S.A. of the Midwest, to be the guest of honor and speaker at the national convention of the Bikol National Associations of America (BNAA) on July 25-27, 2014 in Chicagoland. Attorney Lewis was the featured speaker at the  “Billionaire’s Expo” at the Holiday Inn & Suites at 150 S. Gary Avenue in Carol Stream, Illinois sponsored by IPJM in cooperation with twice-monthly Fil-Am MegaScene, published and edited by Bart & Yoly Tubalinal of nearby Buffalo Grove, Illinois. The other guests at the event were Bishop Abraham Gaor, founder, “School of Wealth & Success,” and Pastor Armand Cudia, author of Shepherds Into Kings, Ms. Irene Alano-Rhodes of “Miss Saigon,” West End Theater, London and Dany Juat of “Papuri” singing group and IPJM Band. Ms. Lewis also spoke about current events in the Philippines. Looking on from left are officers and members of the Bikol U.S.A. of the Midwest, Danilo Auro, Tony Blando, Romy Sarcilla, Bob Tolledo, Joseph G. Lariosa and Luz Nunez. (FAXX/jGLi Photo)

Campaign Opening Salvo (1)

OPENING CAMPAIGN SALVO:

Filipino American Attorney Loida Nicolas Lewis (standing), co-leader of the U.S. Pinoys For Good Governance, gives brief remarks, where she endorsed to 900,000 registered Filipino overseas voters to vote for at least eight of the 12 Team PNoy senatorial candidates to give President Noynoy Aquino a majority in the Philippine senate for the next three year. But she clarified the endorsement should “not let [President Aquino become] a dictator but only to get things done properly.” Looking at left is Judge Jessica O’Brien (left), the first Filipino American elected Cook County Circuit judge, and Ms. Yoly T. Tubalinal, co-publisher/editor of Fil Am Megascene, a twice-monthly publication in Chicagoland. At left are participants to a community event that include Jun Delfin, Tony Blando, Bob Tolledo, Bart SG. Tubalinal, Thelma Fuentes, Evelyn Natividad and Luz Nunez. (FAXX/jGLi Photo by Joseph G. Lariosa)

JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

Correspondent
Fil Am Extra Exchange
Journal Group Link International
P. O. Box 30110
Chicago IL 60630
U.S.A.
Tel. 312.772.5454
Telefax 312.428.5714 
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Filed under Bulan Observer and Fil-Am Friends, Joseph Lariosa, Politics, The Matnog Environmental Advocates Organization (MEAO)