PIDCI Banner.  (All Filipino Reporter photos taken during the Independence Day parade on Madison Avenue in New York last June)

Last Saturday was PIDCI (Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc.) officers’ elections.

Though, Consul General Theresa Dizon-De Vega’s observation was correct, because of empirical basis that after each organization elections, emotions usually run high.

(How come in the Philippines, it’s been 16 months since the national elections, the winning side’s emotions still run high almost every day?)

That was the Con Gen’s response to the virtual pandemonium that ensued after votes were cast in the PIDCI elections.

Her calming remarks were needed because of the rally-like behavior and yells that transpired in her presence.

I was not there.

But, I watched the lengthy video of the proceedings from Don Tagala’s camera and from another FB friend.

Other friends texted to me a minute-by-minute account of the “happenings.”

I saw on camera how Raul Estrellado, the COMELEC of one, but secured by about 30 security staff in “dilaw” T-shirts, was wearing his barong in a Duterte folded sleeves style.

(Wasn’t that a big contradiction? Dilaw at Duterte Barong?)



Singer Shane Ericks, GPSI World Champion.

As if mimicking Moses in The Crossing of the Red Sea, I saw Juliet Payabyab’s raised arms inciting her “disciples” to stand up in “rebellion” and yell in order to stop the counting of votes due to what her camp, evidently, believed to be anomalous election procedures.

(I picked this Payabyab conclusion from Richie Rillera’s long story.)


I also saw how a naïve-looking guy, who claimed he was an appointed voting official, was thrown out of the room by the “dilawan.”

They carried him while sitting in a chair, like an ancient Egyptian pharaoh.

(I recall my playmates and I used to play something like that when we were little.)



Sinulog of Cebu.

Despite all of the above, the election was held and completed by secret balloting.

Over 60 votes were cast and counted.

Right Raul?

Winners were declared and took their oath before the patient and petite Consul General.

So, consummatum est ang election.


All along, two police officers from the NYPD were watching the proceedings as if asking themselves, “why the heck are we here?”

After the chaos, this Bulakeno received a text from a Waray, who, apparently belonged to the winning camp, who said, “Diri sila maupay.”

I had to ask a Waray in Manila for the meaning.



Let me give my observations and suggested solutions.

The problem I see during PIDCI elections is not qualification of candidates.

Rather, it is eligibility of voters.

Who could vote?

Who will be voted upon?

It seems the problem starts when the process of selecting the eligible voters, including proxy voters, takes place, perhaps, quietly and clandestinely.

The resulting trouble happens on Election Day.

Perhaps, the Consulate and a non-partisan group should be involved in this stage.

Do this voter screening process long before the election so that come Election Day, voting will be smooth and quiet.

Another problem I see is candidate application procedures.

PIDCI should release an announcement of the forthcoming election long before Election Day, say two months in advance.

Make application forms for candidates and qualifications available online.

(Two or three years ago, application forms were sent out to people the day before the elections with instructions that interested candidates should return the forms in 24 hours!)

I believe the current practice limits the opportunity to be leaders only to PIDCI “insiders.”


Couples for Christ NJ.


Connecticut Contingent.


President Duterte has outlived his usefulness?

I will go straight to the point because I’m running out of space.

After observing the events in the native country in the past 16 months, I believe the best course of action for President Rodrigo Duterte is to step down from the presidency.

It sounds difficult, but like other leaders in history, I believe, as my friend in Manila does, Mr. Duterte has outlived his usefulness to his country.

Furthermore, I think it is for the best interest of his nation and of his family to step down, not tomorrow, but now.

At 72, he has proven himself.

He was city mayor for 24 years.

He has won a presidential election.

He tried his best.

But, to many, including the international community, his best was wanting.

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