April 2013 – A Blessed Month For Reunions

by Sonny Asuncion Rayos
Sometimes plans go awry and dreams of reunions, even years in the making, do not materialize. Blame it on unfavorable timing, exorbitant plane fare or just plain and simple: flights are fully booked. Legitimate excuses. The reality is Asuncion family reunions are scheduled in late December or January are tough for travelers.
From out of nowhere, I received an email from Lota about an Asuncion family reunion on April 6. It was meant to be! This is perfect timing. I already have my plane tickets for travel to Manila in late March. Maybe I was trying to mask and contain my excitement because the only reply I sent was “I will be able to make this reunion.”
An old cliché comes to mind – “Pictures are worth a thousand words” and “To make a long story short,” here are some of the pictures taken during the Asuncion reunion.
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But wait! There’s more!! Attached is a photo with Manong Gabriel Asuncion with daughter Jo Anne. Manong Gabby has been my source of almost anything Asuncion . I must admit, this is my first time I’ve met Manong, although we talked often via telephone or email. Gabby’s brother the late Eugenio was  instrumental in reminding me that I am an Asuncion . I knew vaguely of this fact (other than it being the surname of my maternal grandmother) and the historical importance of what it meant – so thanks Eugene and may you rest in peace. Manong Gabby’s lineage is Leoncio Asuncion, then Hilarion Asuncion, then Jose Maria Asuncion.  My maternal grandmother, Feliza, is the youngest sister of Jose Maria.
A reunion with Santa Cruz Church ?  Could one consider this a reunion? I must say YES. I am getting reunited with the two commemorative plaques of my great, great, (how many more great?) uncle and grandfather Justiniano and Leoncio Asuncion. These are located on the west side of the SC church (on your right hand part if facing the façade of the church). Herewith are the photos of each marker
It can’t be better than this: Asuncion-Paterno reunion! Our common ancestry starts with a china man named Ming Mong Lo. He is considered a sanglay; a spanish colonial term for pure chinese immigrants who are in the Manila to conduct commerce.  It comes from the Chinese word “Seng-Li” meaning business. Family records described him as an “apothecary of Mandarin descent.” He had his named changed to Jose Molo when he was baptized. It is well documented in archives that Jose Molo is the progenitor of the Paterno family – with one of the sons, Paterno Molo de San Agustin, eventually changing the surname Molo (and those of his siblings following suit) to Paterno. One of the daughters of Jose Molo is Maria de la Paz Molo de San Agustin. Maria de la Paz married Mariano Cagalitan. The Cagalitan surname was later changed to Assumpcion then finally to Asuncion .
The reunion and reunification of blood siblings of Ming Mong Lo – the Asuncions and the Paternos is considered one of the highlights of April. This is about seven or eight generations of pinsans from the progenitor Ming Mong Lo. Attached are photos of this event. The setting for this historic event couldn’t be more perfect – at the Orchid Garden Suites – a beautiful hotel (excellent staff, wide choice of food, clean and wholesome hotel) across the Century Park Sheraton in Vito Cruz St. Malate, Manila .
The last reunion for this blessed month of April is the most special and personal. This is my reunion with the ivory sculpture of baby Jesus by Leoncio Asuncion. Attached are several photos. This sculpture is the one that my mother, Juanita Asuncion-Palileo, takes out during Christmas and New Year for all of us kids to kiss. This is a known work of Leoncio with good provenance – a hand me down from generations.
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I hope you’ve enjoyed my Asuncion family stories and photos. Until the next Asuncion reunion or better yet a joint Asuncion-Paterno reunion.


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May 2013 Elections / List of Local Candidates In Bulan





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(© 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.


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.


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.


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(© 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.


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.


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.


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 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)


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)


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Asuncion Clan Reunion 2013

“Kita Kits Muli Tayo”


WHEN:      April 6, 2013 @ 4:00pm onwards

WHERE:   #18 Collins ST. Dona Faustina I

                  Culliat, Quezon City

                  Atty. Godofredo Asuncion‘s

                  Residence and  Clubhouse                    

Pls. call :     

Lota  Asuncion Abella-  

Atty. Nina Asuncion- 

Atty. Edgar Asuncion- 

Mary Anne  Asuncion Gray-

Pls. coordinate with  Lota A. Abella for the Food

Pls. bring gifts for the raffle and games.


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What Is Obama’s Take On North Borneo (Sabah) Standoff?

By Joseph Lariosa

“Men take advantage of weakness of other men. They’re just like countries that way. The strong man takes the weak man’s land.”
-Lolo Soetero Mangunharjo, stepfather of President Barack Obama (“Dreams from My  Father”) © 1995

CHICAGO (FAXX/jGLi) – Barack Obama was probably in the third or fourth grade of his impressionable years in the late sixties in Jakarta, Indonesia when he asked his stepfather Lolo (Soetero Mangunharjo) if he ever saw a man killed.

Lolo answered, “Yes.” And Barack asked again, “Was it bloody?” Lolo answered, “Yes.”In his book, Dreams from My Father (Random House, 1995/Kodansha Globe 1996), the grade school boy, who would be the 44th United States President, asked again, “Why was the man killed? The one you saw?”

Lolo answered, “Because he was weak. That’s all. That’s usually enough. Men take advantage of weakness of other men. They’re just like countries that way. The strong man takes the weak man’s land. He makes the weak man work in his fields. If the weak man’s woman is pretty, the strong will take her.” He paused to sip water, then, asked, “Which would you rather be?”

“I didn’t answer,” Obama said, and Lolo squinted up at the sky. “Better to be strong,” he said finally rising to his feet. “If you can’t be strong, be clever and make peace with someone who’s strong. But always better to be strong yourself. Always.”

These quotes from Mr. Obama’s bestseller reminded me of the attempt of some 200 heirs and followers of the Sultan of Sulu, who tried to reclaim North Borneo or Sabah from Malaysia. Among them were several dozens of Royal Army of Sultan bodyguards.

Instead of negotiating with Sultan of Sulu landlords, the Malaysian Army used all its might and attacked the members of the Royal Army. Malaysia used a sledgehammer, instead of a flyswatter, by killing several dozens of the helpless Filipino landowners. Less than a dozen Malaysian policemen were also killed. 

But Malaysian Army kept on attacking the Filipinos, despite appeals of the United Nations  for a ceasefire, and violated the human rights of the Filipinos, who were arrested.

The young Obama’s nearly four-year stay in Indonesia gave him a brief knowledge of history of Indonesia, which was colonized for centuries by Netherlands (Dutch) and the Japanese during World War II.


In his book, Mr. Obama wrote, “[b]efore leaving Hawaii, she (his mother Stanley Ann Dunham) had tried to learn all she could about Indonesia: the population, fifth in the world, with hundreds of tribes and dialects; the history of colonialism, first the Dutch for over three centuries, then the Japanese during the war, seeking control over vast stores of oil, metal, and timber; the fight for independence after the war and the emergence of a freedom fighter named Sukarno as the country’s first president.”

So, if Mr. Obama would be provided with intelligence by his national security advisers on how to handle the peaceful-turned-bloody take over of North Borneo by the Sultan’s Royal Army, he does need a lot of introduction.

All Mr. Obama needed to be told was that North Borneo or Sabah was the former real estate property of Sultan of Brunei, who ceded Sabah to the Sultan of Sulu for extending protection of the Sultan of Brunei.

But because Brunei struck oil in 1920’s and the oil is still flowing to this day, the neighboring North Borneo has suddenly become a hotly contested property.

Finding the Sultan of Sulu vulnerable from the attack of Spanish colonizers, Austrian Consul Baron von Overbeck tricked the Sultan of Sulu into signing a lease treaty with the Sultan on Jan. 22, 1878. The treaty was written in Malay language written in Arabic script. The agreement gave Overbeck the authority to administer North Borneo estate with a very paltry lease amount – an annual payment of 5,000 Mexican pesos (now Malaysian Ringgit).

This is exactly what Lolo meant when he told the young Obama, “Men take advantage of weakness of other men. They’re just like countries that way. The strong man takes the weak man’s land.”


Despite the revocation of the lease agreement in September 1878 by the Sultan of Sulu, a Protocol of March 7, 1885 was allegedly hatched among Great Britain, Germany and Spain. For unknown reason, the Protocol let Spain renounce “as far as regards the British government, all claims of sovereignty over the territory of the continent of Borneo, which belong, or which have belonged in the past to the Sultan of Sulu (Jolo) and which comprise the neighboring islands … from the coast, and which form part of the territories administered by the company styled the British North Borneo Company.”

But Mr. Obama will find out that this “Protocol of March 7, 1885” became a worthless scrap of paper when Great Britain tried to ask the United States to transfer North Borneo to Great Britain after the United States signed the Treaty of Peace of 1898 with Spain after U.S. payment of $20-M to Spain, ceding the Philippines and Sulu Archipelago, including North Borneo, to the United States.

Question, if the Protocol of March 7, 1885 was in effect why did Great Britain still ask the U.S. to transfer North Borneo to British administration when the U.S. and Great had the Exchange of Notes of July 3 and 10, 1907 and Jan. 2, 1930 Convention?

According to the Jan. 2, 1930 Convention, “Firstly, the said company (BNBC) be left undisturbed in the administration of the islands (North Borneo) in question unless or until the United States Government give notice to His Majesty’s Government of their desire that the administration of the islands should be transferred to them. The transfer of administration shall be effected within one year after such notice is given on a day and a in a manner to be mutually arranged.”

Its Art. V says, “The present Convention shall be ratified by the President of the United States of America, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate thereof, and by His Britannic Majesty, and shall come into force on the exchange of the acts of ratification, which shall take place at Washington as soon as possible.”

There was no “one year such notice … given and a manner to be mutually arranged” and there was no such ratification by the President of the USA and advice and consent of the Senate and by His Britannic Majesty” on June 26, 1946 when the British North Borneo Company entered into an agreement with the British Government, transferring its interests, powers and rights over to the British Crown to become State of North Borneo. No wonder, the International Court of Justice ruled in 2002 that there was no such transfer.

( lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )


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Plunder case against Governor Raul Lee et al.


Republic of the Philippines
Quezon City

Incumbent Member of the
Sangguniang Panlalawigan

-versus- OMB-C-C-12-0355
FOR: Violation of R.A. 3019
Section 3, Paragraphs (a) and (g)

RAUL R. LEE, incumbent Governor,
ANTONIO H. ESCUDERO, incumbent Vice Governor, REBECCA D. AQUINO,
O. RAVANILLA, ANGEL E. ESCANDOR, BENITO L. DOMA, BERNARD H. HAO, PATRICK Q. RODRIGUEZA, NESON A. MARAÑA, all incumbent Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Sorsogon.
HIL BENEDICT G. MANZANADES, Land Bank Legaspi Office
RENATO G. EJE Vice President,
Land Bank of the Philippines,

Incumbent Member of the
Sangguniang Panlalawigan

-versus- OMB-C-A-12-0373
FOR: Dishonesty and Grave
RAUL R. LEE, incumbent Governor,
ANTONIO H. ESCUDERO, incumbent Vice Governor, REBECCA D. AQUINO,
O. RAVANILLA, ANGEL E. ESCANDOR, BENITO L. DOMA, BERNARD H. HAO, PATRICK Q. RODRIGUEZA, NESON A. MARAÑA, all incumbent Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Sorsogon.


Comes now Complainant, unto this Honorable Office most respectfully avers that:

1. Respondents Hil Benedict G. Manzanades and Renato G. Eje would like to point out that the loan was duly approved and evaluated by the different channels of the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) approving authority – from the recommendation of the Account Officer to the approval of different signing authorities, to show that there could not be any conspiracy between Sorsogon Governor Raul R. Lee and some officials of the LBP (See paragraph 3 of the Joint Counter-Affidavit of Messrs. Hil Benedict G. Manzanades and Renato G. Eje). With all due respect, NO EVIDENCE has been presented to prove this allegation;

2. Paragraphs 4.1; 4.2; and 4.3 of the Joint Counter-Affidavit of Hil Benedict G. Manzanadez and Renato G. Eje are correct statement of facts. Paragraph 4.4 is not known to the Complainant while paragraph 4.5 is an anomalous allegation designed only to circumvent the evidences at hand and make it appear that (i) there was no conspiracy and that the THREE HUNDRED FIFTY MILLION PESOS (P350,000,000.00) LBP loan is advantageous to the Provincial Government when in truth, it was not;

2.1 For instance, respondents Hil Benedict G. Manzanades and Renato G. Eje said in paragraph 4.5 mentioned in their Counter Affidavit, they sent a second letter to Governor Lee dated March 30, 2011 with an offer of interest rate of 5.061% as a result of recent movement of rates in the financial market (See paragraph 4.5 of the Joint Counter-Affidavit of Hil Benedict G. Manzanadez and Renato G. Eje);

“4.5 The Land Bank-LC, thru respondent Manzanades, sent its first offer letter on March 07, 2011 offering an interest rate of 7.0% and the second one on March 30, 2011 with an interest rate of 5.061% as a result of recent movement of rates in the financial market. The said letter of Land Bank dated March 07, 2011 states that all other charges shall be waived.”

2.2 With all due respect, the alleged letter contains no receipt of the Office of the Governor. In fact, in Annex “6” of the Joint Counter-Affidavit of Manzanades and Eje, undersigned complainant brought to the attention of the respondents that I was asking for the letter-proposals of the PNB and LBP but this Annex “5” of the Joint Counter-Affidavit of Messrs. Manzanades and Eje was not among those submitted even to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (See paragraph 1 item 1 of the Annex “6”);

“During the last Regular Session April 11, 2011 there was an overwhelming majority (SPM Benito L. Doma, SPM Berand Hao, SPM Angel E. Escandor, SPM Arnulfo L. Perete, SPM Rebecca D. Aquino, SPM Francisco G. Frivaldo, SPM Renato V. Guban, SPM Franco Eric O. Ravanilla and SPM Nelson Marana) except the undersigned who voted in favor of the Committee Report no.27-2011 of the Committee on Budget and Appropriation joint with the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Amendments in favor of a measure authorizing Gov. Raul R. Lee to enter into a loan agreement to any banking/lending institution in the amount of P350.0 million loan and disregarding my valid objection, on the following grounds:

1. There is still a pending motion referred to the said joint Committee to tackle the undersigned letter dated April 2, 2011 requesting for copies of the letter proposals from both the Philippine National Bank and the Land Bank of the Philippinesmitted and received, Governor Lee would not have made a letter dated May 17, 2011 (Annex “K” of my Complaint) addressed to Vice Governor Antonio H. Escudero submitting the proposed Loan Agreement from the Philippine National Bank (PNB) for perusal, review and ratification as well as the proposed PNB Loan Agreement requested by the Governor to be ratified (Annex “L” of my Complaint);

2.4 Even granting without admitting that Annex “5” of the Joint Counter-Affidavit of Messrs. Manzanades and Eje was submitted, the allegations in paragraph 4.5 that all charges shall be waived according to Annex “4” are NOT CORRECT. Review of Annexes “4” of the Joint Counter-Affidavit reveal the truth.

“Fees : 1% handling and ½ % commitment fees, inspection, and appraisal/application fees are waived. Pre-payment fee of 3% shall also be waived but it shall be collected in case of loan take-out by other banks and if required by special financing program.”

2.5 Worst, when the two (2) Loan Agreement (Term Loan 13 and Omnibus Loan Term) with LBP was executed, all these fees that should have been waived but are actually still included in Section 5 of the Loan Agreement (Term Loan 13) of Annex “14” and Section 5 of Omnibus Loan Term of Annex “15”, as follows:

Loan Agreement (Term Loan 13)

“Section 5. Other Fees and Charges: Subject to a 3% pre-payment penalty in case of loan take out by other banks or as required by the Special Funder. Commitment handling, filing/processing & appraisal/inspection fees are waived unless required by Special Funder. GRT for the account of the LGU.”


Omnibus Loan Term

“Section 5. Fees/Charges. Commitment, handling, filing/processing and appraisal/inspection fees are waived unless required by Special Funder. The LOAN shall be subject to a pre-payment penalty of three percent (3%) In case of loan take-out by other banks or if required by Special Funder.”

2.6 What about the alleged offer of 5.061% by Respondent Hil Benedict G. Manzanadez Department Manager/Head, Legazpi LC contained in the letter dated March 30, 2011, marked as Annex “5” in their Joint Counter-Affidavit, the same has never happened, on Section 4 of the Loan Agreement (Term Loan 13) of Annex “14” and Omnibus Term Loan of Annex “15” provides thus:

Loan Agreement (Term Loan 13)

“Section 4. Interest: Prevailing prime rate at the time of availment plus 1% min. spread, provided a minimum of 3% Account Profitability Rate (APR) is met. Subject to quarterly repricing or at applicable special financing rate if special funds is accessed.


Omnibus Term Loan

“Section 4. Interest Rate/s. Interest of the LOAN shall be equivalent to LENDER’S prevailing prime rate at the time of availment at applicable special financing rates, if funded under special financing program. Gross Receipt Tax (GRT) shall be for account of the BORROWER.

2.7 Respondent Manzanes offer of 5.061% has become an illusion. It is no longer found in any of the two LBP Loan Agreements (marked in the Annexes “14” and “15” of the Joint Counter-Affidavit of Messrs. Manzanades and Eje) both signed by Respondent Governor Lee and Respondent LBP Vice President Renato G. Eje.

Unfortunately, Respondents Gov. Raul R. Lee, Vice Gov. Antonio H. Escudero, Board Members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan namely Rebecca D. Aquino, Fernando David H. Duran III, Arnulfo L. Perete, Franco Eric O. Ravanilla, Angel E. Escandor, Benito L. Doma, Bernard H. Hao, Patrick Q. Rodrigueza did not exert effort nor initiated action to secure a concessional interest rates lower than the prevailing interest rates set by the Central Bank’s standard reference rate, thereby violating Article 395 paragraph C of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Local Government Code (R.A. 7160) which provides thus:

“Government financial and other lending institutions are authorized to grant Local Government Units such loans, credit lines, advances, and other forms of indebtedness for projects and purposes referred in paragraph (B) hereof, preferably at concessional interest rates lower than the prevailing rates as may be authorized by the governing board of the financial or lending institution.

Prevailing rates shall mean the Central Bank standard reference rate for medium-and long-term loans.”

3. With their admissions on their Counter-Affidavits and Omnibus Joint Counter Affidavits’ of Respondents Gov. Lee, Vice Gov. Escudero, Board Members Aquino, Duran, Perete, Ravanilla, Escandor, Doma, Hao and Rodrigueza about the truth regarding the existence of the PNB proposal (marked as Annex “J” of my Complaint) and the fact that the latter was the one most advantageous to the Provincial Government an offense for violation of Section 3(a and g) of R.A. No. 3019 was indeed committed, thus:

Section 3. Corrupt practices of public officers. In addition to acts or omissions of public officers already penalized by existing law, the following shall constitute corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful:
(a) Persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations duly promulgated by competent authority or an offense in connection with the official duties of the latter, or allowing himself to be persuaded, induced, or influenced to commit such violation or offense.
(g) Entering, on behalf of the Government, into any contract or transaction manifestly and grossly disadvantageous to the same, whether or not the public officer profited or will profit thereby.

4. Indeed, with the admission of the truth that the PNB proposal of five percent (5%) is most advantageous than 5.061% of LBP but was never acted upon by the Provincial Government and by the Respondents, the evidence of guilt of respondents are strong enough to warrant immediate preventive suspension from the office.

5. The undersigned would like to respectfully reiterate that in a Letter dated July 5, 2012 (marked as Annex “N” in my Complaint) of Dominador O. Jardin, Prov’l. Gov’t. Dept. Head of the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO), addressed to the undersigned complainant, he stated that his Office could NOT come upon any feasibility study of the list of projects such as roads, bridges, buildings, farm to market roads and tourism facilities funded in the P350,000,000.00 LBP loan from available existing records. These only shows that the PPDO officer nor his office was made a part of the official action of the provincial government to come up with the decision to justify and substantiate the loan application for some “priority projects“ of respondents.

6. Worst, based on the Letter dated June 1, 2012 (marked as Annex “V” in my Complaint) of Provincial Treasurer Efilda C. Nogales and Provincial Accountant Mercedes J. Ativo duly noted by Respondent Gov. Lee, the Provincial Government had ALREADY PAID an amount of SEVENTY TWO MILLION NINE HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED FORTY EIGHT PESOS AND SIXTY ONE CENTAVOS (P72,925, 948.61) to various contractors.

In sum, the THREE HUNDRED FIFTY MILLION PESOS (P350,000,000.00) LBP Loan resulted in grave irreparable damage and prejudice to the Sorsogon taxpayers.

In view of the said acts of Respondents Gov. Raul R. Lee, Vice Gov. Antonio H. Escudero, Board Members Rebecca D. Aquino, Fernando Dave H. Duran III, Arnulfo L. Perete, Franco Eric O. Ravanilla, Angel E. Escandor, Benito L. Doma, Bernard H. Hao and Patrick Q. Rodrigueza, they should also be held liable for violation of Section 2 of Republic Act No. 7080 or “An Act Defining and Penalizing the Crime of Plunder, thus:

Section 2. Definition of the Crime of Plunder; Penalties – Any public officer who, by himself or in connivance with members of his family, relatives by affinity or consanguinity, business associates, subordinates or other persons, amasses, accumulates or acquires ill-gotten wealth through a combination or series of overt criminal acts as described in Section 1 (d) hereof in the aggregate amount or total value of at least Fifty million pesos (P50,000,000.00) shall be guilty of the crime of plunder and shall be punished by reclusion perpetua to death. Any person who participated with the said public officer in the commission of an offense contributing to the crime of plunder shall likewise be punished for such offense. In the imposition of penalties, the degree of participation and the attendance of mitigating and extenuating circumstances, as provided by the Revised Penal Code, shall be considered by the court. The court shall declare any and all ill-gotten wealth and their interests and other incomes and assets including the properties and shares of stocks derived from the deposit or investment thereof forfeited in favor of the State.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, Complainant respectfully prays of the Honorable Office to institute the appropriate charges against Respondents and in the meantime order their immediate preventive suspension from the office;

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto affixed my signature this 12th day of February 2013 at Quezon City, Philippines.


SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me this 12th day of February 2013 at Quezon City, Philippines. Affiant exhibited to me his Driver’s License bearing number 3-90-102197 containing his picture and signature as competent evidence of his person.





Filed under Bulan and The rest Of Bicol Region, Graft and Corruption, Politics, SANGGUNIANG PANLALAWIGAN, Sorsogon City, VLADIMIR RAMON B. FRIVALDO