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Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Things Dr Jose Rizal did, he did for COUNTRY and PEOPLE, not for himself!

Brothers in Dr Jose Rizal,
Sir Peter Plueckebaum,

Thanks for giving me a chance to clarify some points!

If enrichment were sole measure (on Leadership qualification), we need not look at Pinocchio's nose, each time he tells a lie! Richard Nixon was not known to have enriched himself, yet he was forced to resign, being a bad example to society! Cambodia's Pol Pot wasn't known to have enriched himself either, yet he was a really BAD leader! Hitler didn't enrich himself too, or did he? Yet... !

The bottom line is PROPRIETY! What is CORRECT and PROPER in this our KOR? Do we want to set a good EXAMPLE for the present society, for the Youth, for FUTURE generations, or not? Shall we USE or NOT USE the By-Laws? Do we NEED these by-laws at all or NOT? (If I am proven WRONG, the German Constitution might as well be abolished too! But, as in this present German government, the by-laws/Constitution is needed as Guide we all have to follow! In the same breath therefore, Sir Carmelo did the CORRECT and PROPER thing...: he filed a formal, written Complaint, his sworn statement, complete with the notarial seal of a public lawyer!)

As we pride to be the Knights of the National hero, so should we COPY HIM WHOSE NAME WE CARRY! Dr Jose Rizal was NOT a weakling who merely did what others told him to think, say, write or do! His campaign for REFORMS were not acts of a desperate individual! Things he did, he did for COUNTRY and PEOPLE, not for himself! Are these Rizalian TRAITS too much to expect of our KOR Leadership?

If the allegations of Sir Carmelo are TRUE, the proper (Rizalian) thing for those accused is to TAKE LEAVE and DESIGNATE a caretaker(s) so that their office(s) could function, while the proper body (Council of Elders???) investigates and makes recommendations! Any delay is JUSTICE DENIED! Any delay is a deathly BLOW to an honorable KOR we have!

I applaud Sir Carmelo Gempesaw for STANDING-UP versus the illegal actions of the few, especially those tasked to HONORABLY fulfill their duties and responsiblities during this term of one RESPECTABLE/HONORABLE MAN, Sir Hilario Davide, Jr., STILL the Supreme Commander! I doubt Sir Hilario knew or was ever asked his permission to use BLANK CHECKS/BLANK VOUCHERS, in violation of the KOR By-Laws, just because he is in New York!

Please NOTE that one item for PHP 78,702.30 under MetroBank Ck# 1510837555, dated 08 June 2007, was paid to Trusty Travel and Tours, Inc. for the "Europe Airfare Sir Ver Esguerra". I'm not saying this amount can enrich someone, yet the mere allegation that a BLANK CHECK/BLANK VOUCHER was used, to pay for one's plane ticket, is in itself already WRONG AND IMPROPER! (If my name were on the line, I'd quickly TAKE LEAVE if not RESIGN, then reimburse the KOR for this amount from my own pocket! That is CORRECTNESS and RIGHTEOUSNESS...things WANTING in this our KOR!)

Imagine if we were Knights of Columbus shouting "Allahu akbar!" at the top of our lungs! Imagine too if we were Rotarians raising the K-I-W-A-N-I-S flag! If I were a BMW or DAIMLER BENZ CEO, is it CORRECT and PROPER for me to drive to work in a Toyota, or Ford, or Volvo?

TRUE LEADERSHIP is more than just NOT enriching oneself in office! We honor Dr Jose Rizal by having his name as BIGGEST part of the KOR organization! For his INTEGRITY, RIGHTEOUSNESS, DISCIPLINE, EXCELLENT qualities, we only need FOLLOW his EXAMPLE, to achieve universal PRIDE AND GREATNESS!!!

For Country and People!



Doing Business in the Philippines:
The Most Problematic Factors
Written by Fred, on 29-01-2008 14:06

We have an existing survey on which among two factors is more needed for Philippine progress -- more entrepreneurs or more opportunities. An overwhelming majority (83.3%), to date, says that we need more entrepreneurs. The survey , however, takes into consideration only two factors, which we could argue as constituting a problem -- a roadblock, if you will -- to Philippine progress. We are aware, of course, that the two factors mentioned are grossly inadequate if we are to discuss Philippine progress.

Just recently, the World Economic Forum released its Global Competitiveness Report for 2007-2008. The Philippines is ranked 71 in the Global Competitiveness Index rankings. Perhaps this is not something to be happy about, as the Philippines is 71 out of 131 countries/economies ranked, and lagging behind its neighbors, including Korea (11), Taiwan (14), Malaysia (21), Thailand (28), India (48), Indonesia (55), Vietnam (68) and Sri Lanka (70). The more intesting aspect of the Report is the portion on The Most Problematic Factors for Doing Business in the Philippines.* Half of the fourteen (14) identified most problematic factors are:

Factors - Percentage (%)
Corruption 22.30
Inadequate supply of infrastructure 17.80
Policy instability 15.20
Inefficient government bureaucracy 14.80
Government instability/coups 9.60
Tax rates 4.60
Tax regulations 3.60

The bottom 7 factors are: access to financing (3.30%), restrictive labor regulations (3.60%), crime and theft (2.30%), poor work ethic in national labor force (1.30%), inflation (1.10%), inadequately educated workforce (0.70%) and foreign currency regulations (0.50%).

It's very significant to note that half of the perceived problems -- the worst problems -- are attributable to the government. We are not here to denounce the government, although you could very well do that if you want. What we are after is for our government to do something about it. The problems, even if perceived ones, have been identified. The challenge of the government, therefore, is to address each and every one of them. While the Pinoy Entrepeneurs, and the Filipino people in general, could very well adhere to the words "ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country," perhaps it's not unreasonable to ask our government what it can do -- specially if the worst problems are attributable to it. I would like to believe that PGMA, who is an economist, would see these "problems" as "challenges," just like how any entrepreneur would look at any problem.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Dear Sisters/Brothers in Dr Jose Rizal,

Thank you for seeking a kind of reconciliatory note, a middle ground, hoping to bridge me with IHQ! I appreciate your advice and thank you for that. I like your amiable personality.

I was raised to hear and listen, to even the voice of a street sweeper, office janitor, messenger or pier baggage boy. My father said that even the lowliest have the right to be heard when they say something! I listen to everyone! (Sad thing is that Paras, Quiambao, Esguerra seem to have lost their writing/speaking skills!?? Wasn't it one of the Cebuano Knights in our meeting at Rico's early this month who said that Esguerra now avoids talking about "corruption"?!!! I'm just the guy at the bottom of the totem pole. No memoranda from me...)

Scarborough Chapter, thru Sir Jun Zerrudo, has always maintained the diplomatic approach, all the years he's been with KOR and till now in his function as KRRM coordinator. Pls check Canada's webpage: www.rizalcanada.org.

Last I heard, IHQ labeled him a rebel! I don't know what label i've got, for calling a "spade a spade". Nothing personal against Paras, Quiambao or Esguerra. What I do is my reaction (defense mechanism, if you may...) to the SHAME I felt when the very respectable German Knights started leaving (35% of) the Wilhelmsfeld-Heidelberg Chapter! First was my good friend here in Heidelberg, Sir Dr Fritz Hack-Ullmer, Great-grandson of Pastor Ullmer, Wilhelmsfeld! Soon, it could be the Great-grandson of Prof Blumentritt, Sir Ernesto Blumentritt!!???

If men of STATURE like them leave the KOR, we'll soon be holding just an empty bag, full of hot air!

My parents taught me to "be respectful" but especially to those who deserve it! IHQ started something that PUSHED so many honorable Knights to LEAVE KOR-Germany! I write to try to redeem myself, apologizing for Paras', Quiambao's and Esguerra's unRizalian actuations, before German Friends (and their descendants!) of Dr Jose Rizal. Paras, Quiambao and Esguerra caused it. I merely call it so.

The National Hero would NEVER, EVER exalt a FAKE! This current IHQ did that here in Europe! I'd be LYING thru my teeth if I claim the opposite!

When I say Paras is a fake European Commander, he really is! Others you've met in Cebu (Sir Kilian Schwarz and Lady Annie Schwarz) use diplomatic words. I dont.

Please consider:

1. Esguerra's unheeded Memo to the chairman of the National Student Model (Program?) to turn-in all records/documents back to IHQ which was mere "lip service" as no disciplinary action nor investigation was undertaken and the program/committee head is still there, despite allegations of involvement in the highly-questionable selection process (in layman's terms called, "hey girlfriend, am Boss, you win!")! Favoritism? Da!

2. In the case of Ms Loren Guevarra, she was INVESTIGATED AND SUSPENDED right away and at the SAME time, then "edged" out of IHQ employment... for helping expose the "Blank KOR Checks/Blank KOR Vouchers" Scandal!(?) Favoritism? Nyet!

3. Paras the "Fake" is still here too, thanks to Quiambao and Esguerra, the great leader/s? Despite damning evidence, investigation was cursory..., at best! No suspension! Favoritism? Da!

4. Who attempted to sweep under the rug long-tabled agenda on No. 1 and the "blank checks/vouchers" of No. 2 above? Your guess is as good as mine! Favoritism? Da!

Paras Out! Quiambao Out! Esguerra Out!

For country and people! ...because the poor cannot wait!


Friday, January 18, 2008


By Edwin D. Bael*

2008, because of the number 8, is said to be a year of new beginnings and resurrections; it is also the 'Year of Grace' for Catholics. But by the way things are in our country, we seem to face another year of the same: for most of us - crisis, corruption and poverty with entertainment from politico-military theatrics; for the very few - the good life. The whys and wherefores of this national situation rattle our consciousness as we try, once more, to recall and make sense of the martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal 111 years ago.

Was his death at the hands of a Filipino firing squad who themselves were at the mercy of a Spanish firing squad behind them, worth all his hope: Yo muero cuando veo que el cielo se colora y al fin anuncia el dia tras lobrego capuz (I am to die when I see the heavens go vivid, announcing the day at last behind the dead night) that he could one day behold his beloved joya del Mar de Oriente secos los negros ojos, alta la tersa frente, sin ceno, sin arrugas, sin manchas de rubor (Jewel of eastern waters: griefless the dusky eyes: lifted the upright brow: unclouded, unfurrowed, unblemished and unashamed!)?

One hundred and eleven years have passed and still Inang Bayan's dusky eyes are full of grief, her brows are still neither lifted nor upright - still clouded, still furrowed, still blemished, still ashamed! Paradoxically, the problems are different yet the same: nor more foreign colonizers, only the Filipino elite; no more struggle for independence, just the daily struggle for freedom from want and freedom from fear.

As generation Y would ask: what's up with that?

Could we perhaps be approaching our national problems with the same mind sets that created the problems in the first place?

If we are, could we be bound to go round and round till we die of exhaustion, like the caterpillar that follows its own tail? Albert Einstein is known to have observed: "No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it".

Gawad Kalinga stalwart Tony Meloto, in his 'Spirituality in Nation Building' speech, said: "My choices define who I am, influence those around me and affect the state of my country and my world." No one can disagree with such a statement. But one could add: My choices are marked and circumscribed by my own definitions, perceptions, beliefs and understandings of myself, my family my nation. In other words, my own definitions (beliefs) delimit my choices.

Examples of the distortive effects of such beliefs and internal definitions are provided by the classic stories of humans raised by wolves/gorrillas, or those of swans raised by ducks, or of eagles raised by chicken, or pigs raised by dogs, dogs raised by cats or lions raised by sheep. For humans exploited by other humans and made to believe their supposed inferior nature, there is no end to possible citations on the abominations of slavery and of the oppressive conditions starkly expressed in Edwin Markham's poem "The Man With the Hoe", which we can very well relate to our own "Men, Women and Children with Scavenger Hooks" in Tondo and other garbage dumps.

Is it possible we truly are of a higher, nobler nature yet have come [or made by others - more appropriately, allowed others to pressure us] to believe we are only good for a little corner of this downtrodden world (as in the song: DITO BA [sa sulok na ito])?

For we could ask, like Rizal in 'Cervantes in Argamasilla de Alba': "Miguel,Miguel [Filipino, Filipino], why does your courage surrender to the blows of fate? If the cedar of Lebanon [molave of the Philippines] defies the horrid roaring of the hurricane; if the hard rock, when the violent sea rages against it to the clamor of wrathful tritons, can stand firm: why do you, invincible genius, despair?" (emphasis provided).

In the same poem, Dr. Rizal prefigured the difficulties we now face: "I heard your groans against strict destiny; and I opened the awe-inspiring book where your tremendous fate, inscribed in ominous colors, can be seen. Thorns shall you find along the way, sown there for you by fraud and falsehood; and you shall grapple with your dark fate as the maimed gladiator grapples with death." (emphasis provided).

And then counsels a way out: "So go, Miguel, [Filipino] let your clear mind , focus of light, shine on your land to redeem a demented multitude by tearing down the dark, dark veil. And like fraught cloud, hurl expertly in your lofty flight a sizzle of lightning to tumble down the god of madness and to bring forth celestial good." (emphasis provided).

What is this "dark, dark veil" we must tear down? And whence do we get this "sizzle of lightning"?

Is the veil perhaps related to our conception of our own "pagka-tao"? Our being human?

If we try to reach back into the dawn of time, we cannot be sure, but can only grasp some straws of data: like forbears travelling across land bridges from mainland Asia, the archipelago getting settled at least 50,000 years ago [Tabon cave man was carbon-dated at 22,000 years], peoples coming in as seafarers, living as separate tribes, spawning at least 171 native languages-not dialects, practicing animism, getting influenced by Buddhism and Hinduism (Shri Vijaya,7th Century and Majapahit,13th Century), Islam (14th Century), Catholicism (16th Century), Protestantism (19th Century) and the rest of global influences up to the present---all piling on top of another, for the Filipino survives by adapting...

Yet almost all our languages refer to our being human beings or persons as "tao" or "tawo" or some phonetic variation thereof. These are the languages referred to, in the felicitous words of Dr. Rizal in "Sa Aking Mga Kabata": Ang hindi marunong magmahal sa kanyang salita mahigit sa hayop at malansang isda (Who does not love his own tongue is far worse than a brute or stinking fish). There are reportedly 13 native Philippine languages with at least one million native speakers; one or more of these languages is spoken natively by more than 90% of Filipinos and we call humans/persons/ man-woman as "tao" or similar sound: Albay-Bikol: tawo; Bikol: tawo; Cebuano: tawo; Hiligaynon: tawo; Ilokano: tao; Ilonggo: tawo; Kapampangan: tau; Kinaray-a: taho; Maguindanao: tawo; Maranao: taw; Pangasinan: too; Tagalog: tao; Tausug: tau. When we say "tao" we mean some human, one with higher consciousness or noble nature. Thus we say, "magpakatao ka!" Be free, aware and responsible! When we knock on a door and say "Tao, Po!" (definitely not the equivalent of 'any body home?'), we are declaring a human being is here, not an animal or the wind! Nothing inanimate!

Did our various ethno-linguistic groups get influenced by the Chinese tradition of "tao" from their philosophical heritage of taoism? May be. But if there was that close an influence, why not use the Chinese term for persons, as in shen or gui? "Tao" in Chinese conception "can be roughly stated to be the flow of the universe, or the force behind the natural order. Tao is believed to be the influence that keeps the universe balanced and ordered. Tao is associated with nature, due to a belief that nature demonstrates the Tao. The flow of qi as the essential energy of action and existence, is compared to the universal order of Tao. Tao is compared to what it is not, like the negative theology of Western scholars. It is often considered to be the source of both existence and non-existence" . That concept seems to be too big and grandiose compared to our daily usage of 'tao'.

Might not this lower level conception of "tao" be a part of the dark veil?

In Mark 12:28-31, when Jesus was asked by a Scribe as to which of the commandments is first and most important of all [in its nature]?, the Lord replied: " The first and principal one of all commands is: Hear, O Israel, The Lord our God is one Lord; And you shall love the Lord your God out of and with your whole heart and out of and with all your soul (your life) and out of and with all your mind (with your faculty of thought and your moral understanding) and out of and with all your strength. This is the first and principal commandment. The second is like it and is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these. (Amplified Bible)

The logic of our mind would ask: Where is the instruction to love 'yourself'? Why did Christ immediately go from loving God with all-our-all and then to loving our neighbor as we love ourselves? Shouldn't there have been the progression of loving God, loving yourself and then loving your neighbor as yourself? Shouldn't the directions of love have been up, in, then out? Why is there no distinction between the 'up' and the 'in'? And why is the second like the first?
Did the Lord, Jesus Christ, mean there really is no distinction between "the Lord your God" and "yourself" because God is within each of us? And therefore when you love God, you actually love yourself (no 'up' but simply 'in')? Thus, there can only be two commands--which are like each other--because when you love your neighbor, you also love God?

If that be so, can I dare say: I AM GOD? AND SO ARE YOU? Can each of us say, like Christ: "I and the Father are one"?

Can we conclude then that the dark veil is the wrong belief that each of us is separate and distinct from God? And that all the evil in the world are but the consequences of our ignorance of "God within" and of our insistence that God is simply out there from Whom we can ask any thing, Whom we can treat as an ATM, and Whom we can blame for every thing?

This is worth considering. After all, "all descriptions of reality are temporary hypotheses" [Buddha]. In Peter Russell's "A Scientist's Oddyssey", he found that "when mystics say 'I am God', or words to that effect, they are not talking of an individual person; their inner explorations revealed the true nature of the self, and it is this that they identify with God; they are claiming that the essence of self, the sense of 'I Am' without any personal attributes, is God".

Yet even to think of it, has been fraught with danger. Tenth century Islamic mystic al-Hallaj was crucified for using language claiming identity with God. Fourteenth century Christian priest and mystic Meister Eckhart was summoned before Pope John XXII and forced to "recant everything he had falsely taught", when he preached that "God and I are one".

Thomas Merton, a contemporary scholar and mystic, wrote: "If I penetrate to the depths of my own existence and my own present reality, the indefinable am that is myself in its deepest roots, then through this deep center, I pass into the infinite I am which is the very Name of the Almighty." St. John of the Cross, acclaims: "The soul is in itself a most lovely and perfect image of God".

A teaching from 'The Impersonal Life', Anon, states: "I AM you, that part of you who is and knows... that part of you who says I AM and is I AM... I AM the innermost part of you that sits within, and calmly waits and watches, knowing neither time nor space... It was I Who directed all your ways, Who inspired all your thoughts and acts ... I have been within always, deep within your heart."

So, can we say that when we declare: I AM TAO, we really mean I AM GOD in principle: co-creator of all that happens to me, my nation, my world?

Can we then cite our constitution that "Sovereignty resides in the people, and all government authority emanates from them" and mean it from the divine perspective of sovereignty? Therefore, can we then take any person or group of persons, natural or juridical, who seeks to undermine, defeat, modify or in any other way prevent or make difficult the full and free expression of the people's will (as in election fraud) to be perpetrators of treason or the substance thereof, because these are acts of treachery against the sovereign and designed to injure the integrity of the sovereign?

Can we then call upon the Armed Forces of the Philippines to judiciously exercise its role of being "the protector of the people and the State" ... "to secure the sovereignty of the State" against any and all who would prevent or otherwise disturb the full and free exercise of such sovereignty by the people?

Given the lifting of this veil of separateness and being at-one-ment with the Lord, can we now make sense of Dr. Rizal's exhortation of the Philippine youth?: "Look up with tranquil face, Philippine youth, on this day and shine, manifesting the grace and gallantry of your line, fair hope of this land of mine! xxxx Bearing the good light of art and science, to the battleground descend, O youth, and smite: loosen the heavy pound of chains that keeps poetic [and national] genius bound".

In the same vein, can we now appreciate Dr. Rizal's optimism about the capabilities of the Filipino in his 'Hymn to Talisay'?: "We are children that nothing frightens, not the waves, nor the storm, nor the thunder; the arm ready, the young face tranquil, in a fix we shall know how to fight. We ransack the sand in our frolic; through the caves and the thickets we ramble; our houses are built upon rocks; our arms reach far and wide. No darkness, and no dark night, that we fear, no savage tempest; if the devil himself comes forward, we shall catch him, dead or alive."

What did Dr. Rizal expect of us, who now remind ourselves of his ultimate sacrifice?

In "Hymn to Labor" he has 'The Boys' end the play with the following stanza: "... And the ancients will say when they see us: 'These are worthy, behold, of their breed!' Not by incense are the dead more honored as by sons who are glorious indeed. For his country at war, for his country at peace, the Filipino will stand guard, will love and will die!" (emphasis provided).

There is then the matter of honoring him (and other heroes passed into the great beyond) by being 'glorious indeed'.

Could we honor him with right words and right actions?

After all: "You shall also decide and decree a thing, and it shall be established for you: and the light [of God's favor] shall shine upon your ways." (Job 22:28, Amplified Bible). Moreover, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life] (Proverbs 18:21)

By the power of our tongues, let us 'hurl a sizzle of lightning' by decreeing, in full realization at the moment of utterance, the significance of our unity with the Lord God Almighty, coupled with the complete intention [you could say: New Year's resolution] of acting as such:

I AM TAO! Uncommon. Sovereign.
"Out of Time's abyss and Eternity's vast cavern I rise:
I am the New Year. Now I have come to govern".*
------------ --------- -
About the author: Edwin D. Bael is Knight Commander of the Knights of Rizal. He was Consul General of the Philippines in Los Angeles 2000-2002. He now resides and works in San Diego, California.
Note: The English translations of Rizal's works in Spanish are quoted from "The Complete Poems and Plays of Jose Rizal Translated by Nick Joaquin".
*[Rizal's 'The New Year' - A Fragment]

Friday, January 4, 2008


FAKE FRIENDS: Never ask for food.
REAL FRIENDS: is the reason you have no food.

FAKE FRIENDS: Call your parents Mr / Mrs
REAL FRIENDS: Call your parents DAD/MOM

FAKE FRIENDS: never seen you cry
REAL FRIENDS: cry with you

FAKE FRIENDS: Borrow your stuff for a few days then give it back
REAL FRIENDS: keep your stuff so long they forget it's yours

FAKE FRIENDS: know a few things about you
REAL FRIENDS: Could write a book about you with direct quotes from you

FAKE FRIENDS: Will leave you behind if that is what the crowd is doing
REAL FRIENDS: Will kick the whole crowds butt that left you

FAKE FRIENDS: Would knock on your front door
REAL FRIENDS: Walk right in and say 'I'M HOME!'

FAKE FRIENDS: Are for awhile
REAL FRIENDS: Are for life

FAKE FRIENDS: will talk bad to the person who talks bad about you.
REAL FRIENDS: Will knock the person out that talked bad about you

FAKE FRIENDS: Would ignore this
REAL FRIENDS: Will send this to all their real friends and hope to get it back!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008



All registered foreigners (permanent or temporary residents in the Philippines) are hereby reminded TO REPORT IN PERSON (pursuant to Section 10 of the Alien Registration Act of 1950) WITHIN THE FIRST SIXTY (60) DAYS - from January 2, 2008 to March 1, 2008 - AT THE ALIEN REGISTRATION DIVISION OF THE BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION AT INTRAMUROS MANILA, or at the Immigration Subport/District/Field Office nearest their place of residence:

The ff documents shall be presented by the foreigner during the Annual Report (AR):

1. Alien Certificate of Registration (ACR)/ACR I-Card,
2. Certificate of Residence (CR), and
3. Official Receipts (O.R.) covering payment of previous AR fees.

An Annual Report fee of P300.00 and P10.00 Legal Research fee shall be paid by the foreigner.

The parent/legal guardian of a foreigner who is less than fourteen (14) years of age, shall have the duty of reporting for such foreigner. Provided that whenever such foreigner attains his 14th birthday in the Philippines, he shall within fifteen (15) days from his 14th birthday apply in person for re-registration and fingerprinting, paying the registration fee and thereafter make his own annual report once a year within the period and at the above designated.

A foreigner holder of paper-based ACR, whose visa is not exempt from payment of immigration fees, shall not be permitted to make his Annual Report without applying for an ACR I-Card. The deadline to apply for ACR I-Card shall expire on 31 December 2007 pursuant to Memorandum Order No. AFF-07-006 dated 21 February 2007.

Foreigners who fail to comply with the provisions of the Alien Registration Act of 1950 are subject to administrative fine and/or imprisonment, at the option of the Commissioner of Immigration.

Sgd. MARCELINO C. LIBANAN (Commissioner)


What a way to remember a hero, what a way to end a year.

During the ceremonies for the 111th Martyrdom Commemoration of Dr. Jose P. Rizal in Toronto, Canada on December 30, 2007 the so-called “Executive Officers” of the Canada Region under the temporary leadership of Sir George Poblete (acting Deputy Regional Commander) deliberately did not include Scarborough Chapter in the list of chapters enumerated in the programme. Reason given: “Because Scarborough did not course their annual dues through us and instead remitted the funds directly to the International Headquarters in Manila , that means they do not recognize the legitimacy of our leadership so therefore they do not belong”.

How dumb. If such explanation came from a child for some childish thing it would be forgivable and branded easily as - yes, childish. But it did not. It is a repetition of an unsubstantiated libelous remark made by Sir Jess Cabrias, also an “executive officer”, in a Toronto newspaper article published in 2006 wherein he audaciously bragged that the members of the Scarborough Chapter are no longer Knights because they did not remit their dues through Cabrias and company! A young boy would probably say in reaction to such stupid rationalizations “Come on people, grow up!” Forgive us now, we do realize that stupid rationalizations is oxymoronic.

Earlier in March of the same year former Supreme Commander and presently member of the Council of Elders Sir Rogelio Quiambao was heard stating more than once during the International Assembly in Manila “If they cannot resolve their differences they might as well resign”. If one were to follow that admonition the Knights of Rizal in Canada would have become extinct long before the date of the martyrdom. We wonder which remark is dumber. Why the question?

Think about this. Quiambao as an elder has no executive powers under the By-laws of the brotherhood. But in his enthusiasm to serve he has been directly involved in managing the affairs of the organization as if he were the Supreme Commander or Chairman of the Board. So much so he somehow got himself appointed as “International Coordinator” and that effectively legitimized his meddling activities. The irony, alas, is the fact that instead of coming to Canada to personally see the resolution of the rift among the members here, it seems he would rather fly to different overseas conventions (funded by money coming from chapters like Scarborough) and pontificate about the differences.

In one of these conventions - the New Jersey , USA to be precise - another Regional Commander, the one linked to Quiambao by the name of Sir Lino Paras of Europe is reported to have stated “I don’t know why they are mad at me. As far as I am concerned, I love them”. Not unlike the previous illustration of childish reaction, Paras is feigning the same innocence. He of course knew and knows the conflagration his alleged plagiarism of a book about Rizal and the poem “Huling Paalam” by Andres Bonifacio has caused the organization. He also knows that charges of racism against him are why many Caucasian members were so fumed they decided to leave the organization altogether. So, for him to say, “I don’t know… and as far as I am concerned I love them” is obviously playing dumb. Otherwise it is probably the dumberest of the three.

How much more stupid can it get? No wonder we have become the laughing stock in Filipino communities in various places around the world. We hope this demonstration of apparent lack of wisdom on the part of some “illustrious gentlemen” is not an indication of things to come in 2008. God forbid, we have seen enough.

Happy New Year to all!

Sir Jun Zerrudo, Editor