Friday, August 31, 2007

In The News Once Again

The CfC split isn't something to ignore, especially by the media, so expect more coverage in the coming days.

The latest in the dailies:

Boo Chanco's Is Gawad Kalinga too good to last? in ABS-CBN Interactive:
(edit: the article was moved to ABS-CBN Interactive)
"I guess the story of the leadership crisis is too good to ignore for long. Vic Agustin wrote two columns in the Standard over the past week on the subject and Ces Drilon had a report aired on it last Tuesday evening on ANC. Newsbreak had a story on it too in its website. What I find sad is the impression it leaves that we Pinoys can’t stand a successful venture. Soon enough, crab mentality sets in and the venture becomes too good to last."

Jose Ma. Montelibano's The good, the crab, and the ugly, in the's Viewpoints:

"In the first town development summit held by Gawad Kalinga last weekend, Filipino-American Robert Sanchez, chief executive of a $500-million IT company, told more than 100 governors and mayors that he was part of a group of successful second-generation Filipino-Americans who had banded together to advocate for Gawad Kalinga. Before ommitting themselves and their resources to Gawad kalinga, they instructed their lawyers to research on Gawad Kalinga and perform due diligence on the organization. In his own words, Robert said, "Gawad Kalinga has no corruption, Gawad Kalinga has no arrogance."

Rina Jimenez-David's Crabs and God’s design, in the Inquirer's Opinion section:

"I’m sure the “breakaway group” headed by Couples for Christ (CfC) founder Frank Padilla would be the first to deny that “crab mentality” is the reason they caused a split in the leadership of CfC and its social development arm Gawad Kalinga. News reports and magazine articles say the conflict was “ideological” in nature, though I won’t ignore talk that it was in part “personal” too."

Anybody else notice the seafood theme? I'll have a Fried Piranha with that crab platter please.

That was a joke people.

Still praying for peace...we'll keep it light until we really know what direction this is all heading into. We still have the much maligned Council Elections to cover...

Just in, the FFL's SEC incorporators, the status of their denied application for incorporation, does one receive tithes without a legitimately incorporated company?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Council Statement and the Vatican Decree

The Vatican Decree:

Who believes that this decree should follow a man or a personality? What of the hundreds of thousands of people loyal to their faith? Are they then unworthy because of one man's vanity?

You decide.

Tony Meloto Speaks

Tony Meloto finally deals with the issue head on. This article in the Philstar covers the sentiments within GK and the issues surrounding the FFL and GK.

GK head breaks silence on Couples for Christ split
By Patricia Esteves
Thursday, August 30, 2007

Gawad Kalinga founder and 2006 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Tony Meloto said yesterday the split in the popular Catholic lay organization Couples for Christ (CFC) would not hurt GK’s housing projects for the poor.

“The breakaway group, CFC Foundation for Family Life, is just a small group that left CFC. Those who left are not even involved in Gawad Kalinga (GK),” Meloto told The STAR yesterday.

“Those who left CFC may have their own priorities but greater majority of CFC are on the same ground, the work of GK will not be disrupted,” Meloto assured.

He said the CFC breakaway group’s accusations against GK enraged thousands of volunteers, partners, universities and corporations.

“There is an outpouring of outrage from the thousands of volunteers, partners, students who are deeply involved in GK work. Gawad Kalinga is the fruit of their sacrifice and when you attack or question the credibility of GK, you are dishonoring the thousands of volunteers, benefactors, partners here and abroad who have sacrificed everything to help build homes for the poor. Even the poor beneficiaries of the homes are upset about this,” Meloto said.

Ironically, volunteers have become more passionate in helping GK as a result of the controversy, according to Meloto.

“At GK, the rich and poor are involved, the civic society, corporations, the students, even foreign embassies support us. So many people from the United States come here to build houses,” he said.

“When you attack GK, the credibility of the organization, you attack the volunteers and they will not easily let the small group of people destroy what they had worked for the poor,” Meloto said.

The CFC breakaway group has accused GK of mismanaging the donations for the poor and for shifting its focus from spiritual to social activities. The group also accused GK of partnering with corporations that promote the use of contraceptives.

“I support the mission of the Catholic Church. Contrary to what they say, we don’t promote contraception in GK, we partner with the organization that wants to help the poor,” Meloto explained.

The CFC breakaway group also demanded an accounting of GK funds.

In 2006, donations to GK reached P600 million. The amount is expected to swell to P1 billion by the end of this year.

“We are partnering with 300 corporations who exercise due diligence and a number of them hire their own people to manage GK partnerships,” he said.

GK executive director Luis Oquinena, for his part, said the Vatican and the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines upheld the June 2 election of the new seven-man CFC council. The elected council members are sympathetic to Meloto.

“That means they recognize the leadership of the seven-man council elected last June,” Oquinena said.

The spiritual adviser of CFC has appealed to the two groups to settle their differences, saying the rift, if allowed to continue, would cause division in parishes and dioceses nationwide.

“The division in the CFC is not just an internal affair. CFC is present in most of our archdioceses and dioceses in the Philippines. If the CFC is divided, our parishes and dioceses will also be affected,” Antipolo Bishop Gabriel Reyes said in a letter to CFC officers dated July 12, 2007.

Reyes also said he was wrongly perceived to have supported the June 2 election of CFC council members because of the way one of the elected officers reported – in a letter – the outcome of their meeting with him.

Reyes, who also heads the CBCP Commission on Laity, said that while it was true that the seven council members visited him on June 24, the letter written by Bro. Joe Tale did not mention his and other prelates’ disappointment with the holding of the election. – With Edu Punay

I believe it speaks for itself. I wish there were more coverage on the election, but I guess that is up to us to take on.

Update: I just found it ironic that they are demanding an accounting of GK funds when they should be demanding an accounting of pre-February 2007 CFC funds to clear THEIR name.


In case you all don't click on the comments links, there are some excellent commentary that sometimes escape our attention. You are all welcome to give your take on what is going on. Each entry has its own.

Click Here

It Is Not Over

It looks like the FFL's spin machine is in high gear with Nonong Contreras appearing to defy the peace that the CBCP has tried so hard to broker with his media appearances and attacks on GK. There has been a rash of TV appearances on ABS-CBN, with him still questioning GK's finances and disbursements. His statements make for great soundbites, although with GK a properly audited foundation, they are baseless without further proof. Once again, the soundbites are great for catching people's ears and sowing doubt, but worthless as a credible source of information. Politics at its finest.

If he really feels that there is an anomaly, then he should bring GK to court, along with their auditing partners. Maybe the CFC financials for the past 26 years should be opened up too, while he's at it.

With the CBCP's statement saying that the reason for the split wasn't about the money (which was also confirmed to them by FFL's Roland Nillas) and more about its deviation from spirituality, then as FFL's spokesperson, Mr. Contreras' attacks on GK would seem to go against what the FFL (ergo Frank Padilla) is telling the Bishops.

Let us put this into perspective:

From the very beginning, Frank Padilla's main reason for his split with CFC was because of GK's veering away from its spirituality and taking away the CFC's focus on evangelization (see GK-3). Money was never mentioned. The emphasis on spirituality only gave Frank Padilla the platform to elevate it to the Bishops' attention.

It would seem that with his spokesperson going on the offensive about GK's financials, Frank may have been misleading the Bishops all along. FACT: It is about the money.

Could it be that it would pay to sow doubts about the integrity of CFC and one of its pillars, GK, in a drive to recruit CFC members to his new group now that the Bishops have recommended the split?

Could it be the fact that the CFC will retain its Vatican Decree be such an annoyance to the FFL that they have to launch a campaign to discredit the CFC (by questioning GK's financials)?

Your opinions please.

Now this article in the Inquirer that covered the dialogue features statements from supposedly anonymous CFC Household Heads who gave their take on the situation:

"They said to them, there appeared to be a "power grab" within the CfC after some elders ignored the advise of the bishops-- Reyes, Lagdameo, and Bishop Socrates Villegas, who was said to represent Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, to seek a "win-win" situation and resolve the conflict.

Instead, one group went ahead with the election of the council of new elders, led by Tale, last June 22, three days before the CfC's 25th anniversary, they said."

It was incredibly irresponsible of the Inquirer reporter, Nikko Dizon, to report what amounts to be an opinion without at least trying to get all the facts from the CFC Council. In short, get all sides of the situation. The inflamatory term, "power grab", was designed to appeal to minds and hearts, esp. to those who are still undecided.

I ask you all now, is this over? I guess we will be bringing into the public light the days and moments before that fateful election. Stay tuned.

Up next, The Definition Of FORGIVENESS according to The Easter Group's Gary Faustino.

In the same post...CFC/CFC-GK/CFC-FFL tongue know, in case there wasn't enough abbreviations to contend with in the first place. :-)

There is no peace in sight...yet.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Thanks to an anonymous commenter in the previous entry, we now have news from the CBCP on the results of yesterday's meeting between the two CFC factions and the Bishops.

CFC opts to split

Manila, August 28, 2007 -After a whole day of deliberations with the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines Episcopal Commission on the Laity chaired by Antipolo Bishop Gabriel V. Reyes, the two conflicting groups from Couples for Christ decided to go separate ways temporarily with the hope of uniting into one later.

The parties involved are the Couples for Christ led by Bro. Jose Tale and the Couples for Christ for Family and Life chaired by Bro. Frank Padilla.

In an exclusive interview with CBCPNews early Tuesday evening, Episcopal Commission on the Laity Chairman and Antipolo Bishop Gabriel V. Reyes said the split will be temporary but both parties “will remain open to unification” in the future.

CBCP President and Jaro ( Iloilo ) Archbishop Angel N. Lagdameo, Bishops Ramon Villena of Bayombong (Nueva Vizcaya), Guillermo Afable of Digos (Davao del Sur) and Honesto Pacana, S.J. of Malaybalay (Bukidnon) attended the meeting at the Council of the Laity of the Philippines Building at Cabildo Street, Intramuros, Manila.

“The Couples for Christ for Family and Life led by Bro. Frank Padilla is now recognized as a diocesan private association of the faithful in the Diocese of Antipolo,” Bishop Reyes said. He added the group may go into other dioceses with the permission of the bishop of the place.

“It is for the bishop to decide whether to accept one or both in his area,” Bishop Reyes explained.

He said Bro. Jose Tale will look into reports that Gawad Kalinga “is veering away from the vision-mission statements of the Couples for Christ and several teachings of the Catholic church."

Asked of Gawad Kalinga’s tie-up with government and other religions, Bishop Reyes said “there is nothing wrong with tie-ups with government agencies and other religions.” He added “tie-ups with other religions should be guided by the Catholic church’s rules on Ecumenism.”

Bishop Reyes confirmed money matters had nothing to do with the conflict. He appealed to Couples for Christ members to continuously pray for their organization and continue to work in their respective communities.

"Bishop Reyes confirmed money matters had nothing to do with the conflict" seems to be an official gesture to signal an end to the warfare.

Might it just have been a coincidence then that last night's TV Patrol episode on Gawad Kalinga on the other hand, featured the Easter Group's Nonong Contreras questioning its use of donated funds?

What is it really?

It is interesting to note that GK has audit partners to ensure its financial credibility, while the CFC under Frank Padilla has yet to issue a complete financial statement.

Will the sniping continue?

I was hoping that this site could be put to rest in the quest for peace and unity after this Bishops' Dialogue, but then again....

Coming up next...

It All Depends.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


According to yesterday's Cocktales in the Manila Standard, The Bishops meet today to discuss the CFC split, although I don't know why Mr. Agustin believes that they have "been left with little choice but to allow Gawad Kalinga to be spun off from the worldwide Couples for Christ just to preserve unity within its middle-class revivalist movement."

Seems whoever supplied the information for that little tale also gave their knowledgeable opinion of how the Bishops will decide.

The Inquirer is also reporting the dialogue, although it wasn't mentioned that it was set for today.

Let us all pray that the CBCP's stand in this issue be fair, impartial, and take into account the world of good that CFC/Gawad Kalinga has done for the country's poor and homeless. This issue must rise beyond personalities, beyond the egos of a couple of individuals, and beyond interference.


The Bishop's dialogue was reportedly a marathon meet lasting from 10am - 6pm. Emotions were high but it seems a workable compromise was reached. Lets all stand by for the statement that is being prepared and keep praying for a fair resolution for all.

Update again:

Read the Council Statement in this entry, or here.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Pandora's Box - Show Me The Money!

A religious organization is fueled by tithes, contributions, and donations. In CFC, how the money is spent was managed by its leader, Frank Padilla. The sole authority to approve major expenses and disbursement of funds lay with him. As a religious organization, the use of tithes must be accountable to the members of its community. These were given in good faith, and are supposed to go towards the organization's evangelistic goals and missions. It is of important note that there has only been one real accounting made by CFC in its years of operation, the one spearheaded by Lito Tayag when he was a member of the council in the late 90's. Actually that was just an attempt, it was never completed.

This subject was actually opened up in a comment in a prior entry before I was ready to post on it. There were several comment inquiries as to where the money from the DOH funds that was discussed in a previous topic was going and if an accounting of it has been made. In fact, I think a keen commenter hit it right on the head of the nail with this comment:

"After twenty-six years in charge perhaps it's harder to resign and let others take charge than it first appears. No one who knows more than the spin really believes this is about GK."

So I ask, as of today, what is CFC's financial status?

This report was given by HO Director, Lito Tayag, during the MC Teaching Night on Aug 21, 2007. Lito Tayag is a Council Member who was formerly a partner in a major multinational accounting firm.

Questions to be asked and answered:

Who are the employees who have unliquided cash advances?

When were the bank loans taken out, and why?

Who are the 10 employees who retired?

If anyone out there has answers to these questions and can help "show me the money", you are welcome to email or comment.

Coming up next, The Ghosts From the Past that Haunt the Present: Emails and revelations about the Coops for Christ and attempts to borrow money from them.

More News...and an Analysis

News about the "split" is starting to appear more regularly in the news:

In Newsbreak


The Manila Standard

Here's the analysis, and a quote from the forwarded email that says it all:

"I agree with his point of view that we should not allow the pride of two leaders lead to the breakup of the community."

Dr Vic S. Cabuquit
CFC-North B

The Couples for Christ, the foremost Catholic lay organization, is 26 years old this year. It has grown into a world-wide network of about one million members. Its thrust has been mainly on evangelization, beginning with the couples themselves and gradually branching into several family and social ministries, offering a unique "womb to tomb" type of evangelization that has reached all the corners of this country and in 160 countries in the world.

It has done remarkably well in its efforts to make a difference, particularly for the poor and indeed, it has achieved accolades from all sectors of society. The plaudits though may have lulled CFC into a false sense of achievement. And pride is just a step away from this.

Now, CFC is on the throes of its most severe crisis; a crisis within its ranks, a crisis amongst its leaders. During the last few years, there had been tell-tale signs of a looming crisis. Unfortunately, these signs were largely ignored.

What Went Wrong? (1)
The decline in membership was one sign. From a high of about 1.2 million members, CFC’s membership dropped to a low of 900,000 in a period of just five years. New members were hard to recruit; participants in Christian Life Programmes (CLPs) were disappointingly low. Ominously, members were simply dropping out. The reasons were varied: different priorities, conflict with members/leaders, wrong charism, lost zeal. Some preferred to stay in the background, as if waiting for the penny to drop.

The significant drop in membership resulted in a decrease in tithes, a perennial problem going from bad to worse. The unexplained CFC debts, which, for a time, ballooned to millions of pesos, further worsened the situation. Overall, there was lack of transparency in how money was being handled. There were instances when money was being spent in advance, that the council was spending beyond its means. This cavalier attitude on finances was reflected in the absence of year-end financial reports and an aversion to so-called "corporate" auditing procedures. Members were asking amongst themselves, "how is our money being spent?" The council’s reply, equally cavalier, was, "trust us."

Another sign centred on the interminable tenures of the members of the Executive Council, the governing body of CFC. Key figures like Frank Padilla, Tony Meloto, Lachie Agana, and Roquel Ponte, had had uninterrupted memberships in the council for about a quarter of a century; an endless merry-go-round of multiple positions and of course, attractive perks. It was not uncommon, for example, for Frank Padilla to report to Frank Padilla who would also report to Frank Padilla. Padilla, in an audacious retort to probing e-mails last year, rationalized this anomaly by claiming no one outside of the council was competent enough to do multiple jobs. These astute men were able to wield a kind of collusive leadership because they themselves were the ones who determined who would constitute the Elder’s Assembly, ostensibly the body with the final say on CFC policies. It was observed that the members of the Executive Council, to preserve their territoriality, nominated only those members who they saw fit as friendly and obedient to their cause. Members who asked too many questions, especially the awkward questions, were excluded. The ‘awkward’ members who somehow managed to get in the council did not last long and were speedily replaced. "Obedience" was the unofficial mantra for that select group.

What Went Wrong? (2)
The Executive Council was dominated by two individuals. Frank Padilla and Tony Meloto: both brilliant, headstrong, and ambitious. One can say that they epitomized CFC. Padilla is a great communicator: excellent in speech and prose. But he often exudes a stiff countenance, lacks a sense of humour, and comes off as an obsessive, controlling icon.

Meloto is a first class strategist, an exceptional man who can readily walk his talk. He has more charisma than Padilla. He has an incredible memory which can be quite disarming. He has the knack of making the other person feel important. Like Padilla, Meloto is passionately controlling.
In the hierarchy of things, Padilla is the mentor, Meloto is the protégé. That is, until Gawad Kalinga. The success of Gawad Kalinga, rightly or wrongly attributed to Meloto, upset the hierarchical apple cart. GK generated so much positive publicity that it created a bandwagon effect. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry wanted to be part of the ground-breaking phenomenon called GK. Meloto began to reap laurels from all quarters. Meloto basked in the limelight. Meloto felt heady with success. Can pride be far behind?

A significant event that catalysed the crisis was the Ramon Magsaysay Award given to Meloto, as an individual achievement. Significantly, the announcement of the award was met with less than cacophonous jubilation by the CFC. Many were wondering, "why Meloto, why not CFC?" There were unconfirmed but widely believed reports that there were attempts by some backroom boys (actually girls) to prevent Meloto from garnering the individual award. To make a long story short, Meloto and CFC, represented by Padilla, received individual and group awards, unprecedented in the history of Asia’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize. It was plain the backroom boys (girls) were able to strike a compromise.

But the arrow had been released, and CFC bled. Many felt that Meloto should have declined the honour as an individual achievement because it was not he but CFC which created, nurtured, and sustained GK. The fact that Meloto accepted the award meant he thought otherwise.

As Executive Director, Meloto controlled GK. Controlled, with a capital C. Meloto became the face of GK, a fact not all discouraged by the council. It turned out to be a big time blunder. The GK bandwagon rolled on but somewhere along the way, CFC’s evangelical wheel suffered a puncture. It was now becoming evident that GK, spearheaded by Meloto, was getting too big at the expense of CFC. CFC programmes were taking a backseat in favour of GK activities. CFC talks were being cancelled or postponed because of GK. On a personal note, the protégé has now overshadowed his mentor. Not a good recipe for equanimity. When two brilliant, headstrong, and ambitious egos clash, a crisis inevitably erupts. Publicly, Meloto would say Padilla remains as his mentor. But Meloto was less than vociferous, let alone enthusiastic, in proclaiming CFC during his numerous public orations. Meloto’s star shone so brightly that some political commentators started to consider him as presidential timbre.

As GK Chair, Padilla was out of the media limelight. For the first time, people were talking more about the protégé than the mentor. Padilla was quite supportive of GK from its inception up to as late as November 2006. Padilla has high regards for Meloto and the feeling is mutual. Both had developed a very close bond after being together so long in the council. That is why his trenchant defense of GK in his paper CFC-GK2 was no surprise.

But his paper CFC-GK3, released six months later, was a shocking surprise. In it, he spun 180 degrees from his former position on GK. In GK2, he was all for it; in GK3, he was against it, raising the spectre of a split between the original wholistic, global, Catholic CFC from the CFC-GK, which has turned, in Padilla’s opinion, into a mere social phenomenon. Padilla, in a brilliant anticipatory move, got the bishops involved. He knew that when push comes to shove, the bishops would be on his side. He was right, as subsequent events showed. The gambit worked like a charm.

Are You Pride? Come In
What drove Padilla, in just six months, to change his ideological suit from GK2 to GK3? In that six- month period, Padilla, Meloto, and Agana resigned from the Executive Council for reasons largely unexplained. It is not certain if their resignations were for good or for the meantime, with the elections coming in about four months. Speculations abound, from the sublime to the ridiculous. But their resignations had one stunning effect: they were out of the Executive Council, their power base for so long. Suddenly, they found themselves out looking in. A thoroughly unfamiliar position for the trio.

Padilla, whose creativity and energy require power and position, felt like fish out of water. The report, most likely true, that he was surprised and piqued that he was not re-nominated, speaks of his penchant to remain in control. Meloto, surprisingly (perhaps not really, for his protégé, an obtrusive young chap, whose loyalty to him is second to none, took over as Executive Director of GK, ) coped better than Padilla in the aftermath of their resignations.

Psychologically, any man who publicly declares he has no need for power and position actually hungers for them. Padilla and Meloto are such men. Meloto does it more subtly, though. For Padilla, there has to be a stage to showcase his admittedly prodigious talents; one smart way to get back on track was to get back people’s attention. He got their attention indeed with his CFC-GK3 paper.
Read on its own, the CFC-GK3 paper is a bombshell. In measured tones and exquisite prose, he seemingly hit the bull’s-eye. But read in tandem with his CFC-GK2 paper (something highly recommended) written barely six months earlier, one realizes that all his GK3 arguments are hollow and shallow, and a bellow from someone who is barely mellow.

For he could as well have rebutted the GK3 issues he raised by quoting his own defense in GK2. Call it semantic somersault. Call it erudite contradictions. Call it strange ruminations but this kind of thinking needs further observation. It is worrisome. He was the GK chair all those years the problems were incubating. His hands, one may argue, are also tainted.

Nevertheless, his moves rattled everyone. The Executive Council members, headed by the disenchantingly ineffective Joe Tale, did not know what hit them. Tale, who is really a nice chap, was not impressive in communicating the council’s defense and Padilla simply found him and the rest vulnerable. Meloto’s sepulchral silence did not help the council’s cause. And people wondered why. "Our house was on fire and he did not do anything," noted an insightful member.

The Choices We Have to Make
Now, CFC is virtually rendered split into two factions: the original CFC (with GK) and the CFC (with Foundation for Family and Life or FFL). It might as well read "Meloto versus Padilla." Curiously, both deny a continuing desire for power or position. But both suffer from cognitive dissonance: what they say do not tally with what they do.

Consider these: Meloto’s influence in CFC-GK remains potent. The CFC Executive Council and the majority of the Board of Elders are loyal to him. His hold on GK is secure: lock, stock, and barrel. He remains the power behind GK. Padilla, who implored members to trust him, is now the President of the CFC-FFL and will surely be the leader of his group. He may act coy about it but a clamour for his leadership is too tempting to ignore.

Talk about not wanting power and position. That is cognitive dissonance.


More news links in the comments.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Side Notes: On the INSIDE looking IN

I was given permission to re-print this here. It is a response to Frank Padilla's Open Letter to the CFC Global Family from a brother who was actually close to the issues, Carlos Yturzaeta, a former Metro Manila Sector Head. His responses appear in bold/italics. This entry is quite long but one that is worth the read. It reads from top to bottom in reverse order as I included a short exchange that I felt was worth posting as well for its insightful content.

Carlos Yturzaeta wrote:

Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2007 11:36:13 +0800 (CST)
From: Carlos Yturzaeta
Subject: Fwd: Re: rejoinder/comments on Community in Crisis
To: bebot tantuico

Dear Bebot,

The most important thing is that we use our common sense, practical wisdom, wisdom of others, day to day circumstances in our lives, voices and opinion of others, etc. in trying to know God's will in our lives. Elders in our community are human beings too and can commit mistakes or be blinded by their beliefs of anointing.

A leader from the Visayas told me: "Brod, satan must be very happy in what's happening in CFC (that includes GK and all other ministries, special, family, etc.), di ba?"

I answered him: "Brod baka magalit si Satan! Sabihin niya sa atin na since time and memorial, alam na natin dapat ang mga dahilan kung bakit may downfall ang isang community or organization (and even a family). These were or are power, fame/glory, money, sex, perks, and most of all PRIDE. Even before Jesus came into this world, yan na sakit ng tao. Eh, dina kayo natuto. Not my fault!".

Mag-golf na lang tayo.I will play tomorrow at 6am. happy weekend.


At 11:11 PM 6/13/2007, Caloy Yturzaeta wrote:

Dear Shirley,

thanks for passing this on to me.

Actually i already received them from other sources.

Looks like everyone knows about this open letter of Frank already.

Looks like Frank does not see the point anymore--he already resigned and should already keep his mouth shut. afterall, he already mentioned that succession of leaders in CFC is already in place (Q&A part 2). also, if CFC is God's work, then it will flourish if God would like that to happen.

Frank should learn how to let go. Let others reign in the community. Unless, there are unfinished business that he would like to do inside the corridors of power. Or his resignation and lamentation discourse is not really sincere. We love Frank, but its time for him to move on. He is not a messiah that can save CFC.

Maybe its time for CFC to move on. Some said that the elders are no longer anointed. CFC no longer anointed. the work of God in CFC as part of His plan has already been consumated. time to move on. Why do you think these things are happening in CFC? the Lord allowed these things to happen for a's finished. Just like the other groups who came and went--Cursillo, Charismatic, Marriage encounter groups, Bukas Loob sa Diyos, Loved Flock, Lord's Flock, Oasis of Love, Pag-Ibig sa Diyos, CPPJ, Elim, Shalom, BNP, etc. They were good only up to the extent that their leaders were still in control. Same with CFC.

Events do not happen for nothing. either God is teaching us or leading us or directing us to a more urgent and important tasks. GK is only the vehicle that contributed to the conflict of CFC leaders. Behind such conflict is God's wisdom and plan. We hope, we can see that plan.

Question: Are these the end days of CFC?

Answer: Maybe.

Keep on doing the work with the poor--quietly and sincerely--no flare, no funfare, no awards, no photo-ops, no bloated figures. no deceit, no half truths-no half lies. Just keep on working for the poor. God will reward you and your work. God will bless you and your work. Take care.

PS--on the second thought. I would like to make comments on Frank's letter.
My comments are in italics. Pls. forgive me for my provoking comments.

Shirley Young Bangayan wrote:

From: Frank Padilla

Date: Jun 10, 2007 1:38 AM

Subject: our community in crisis

To: "Council\"" <"CFC>, "OF ELDERS 2005-2007\"" <"BOARD>



June 10, 2007

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

The peace, hope and joy of the Lord be with you all.


The Lord brought us to Lamentations for this year 2007. But no one could have imagined the conflict and disunity that the top leaders in our community would be facing now. We are in crisis. I am deeply concerned. (Crisis started when Frank, Tony and Lachie resigned hastily on Feb. 20, when they could have all waited for a smooth election on June 22. Had they they waited until June 22, it would have been less dramatic or no drama at all. Just a simple stepping down to give way to others would have been a better move, unless Frank had really an agenda. Frank is not the only one deeply concerned--we all are. This is a mesaianic posture. )

But first, since even I am under attack, and there are those who would question my authority to speak, I am involving myself because CFC is the community I love and will spend the rest of my life in. Do I have the right to speak? Of course, and so does anyone else in our community, especially if there is a great threat to our very life and mission. (Who is under attack? Frank admitted the guilt; repented for the sins of the Council and the sins of the Community on Feb. 20. He resigned and that was accepted--how could he be under attack? We all love CFC. What threat? This is God's will flourish even if we are not here...unless the Lord has some other plans for CFC already that's why these things are happening, because God is allowing such things to happen--for a purpose.)

Further, my wife Gerry and I were here from the very start, I have witnessed the blessings of God upon CFC for the last 26 years, I can see what is really going on, and I do have a responsibility, together with everyone else, to protect our life and mission.

(yes, we all have experienced God's blessings and we all have responsibilities...God will protect CFC life and mission, even if we do nothing. This is His work. Again Frank's posture is a form of mesaianic complex...we also see what's going on. In fact, many things Frank were not able to see but many saw and some even brought these to his attention. He did not do the right thing...sorry.)

What is the concern?

At the very heart of my concern is the tension between the parent CFC and the child GK. (some of us already saw these early on. Pia and I already foretold this as early as 2002...I talked to Roquel on this. my words to Roquel at Shangrila Hotel during lunch with Greg Monteclaro were: Rendahan ninyo si Tony sa GK work. Kung hindi, lalamunin ng GK ang CFC. Tatabunan ni Tony ang CFC. Tony will drag the whole CFC into GK; evangelization will suffer. Of course, many knows Roquel as a so-so person. So, nothing happened)

Briefly, this has to do with:

(1) The social versus the spiritual dimension of the work;(From the start of GK in 2001, it was already clear that this is a social work. Unless the beneficiaries that GK will select will be from our own CFC members. That's what we did in North A. We practically selected CFC members as our beneficiaries in our "Gklets")

(2) The tendency of certain top leaders of GK to exclude the Family and Social Ministries in real integration in the GK work;(There's nothing wrong with this if only the beneficiaries came from CFC members who do not have their own house and lot. In fairness to GK, the Family and Soc Min could not catch up with the GK they have to find the extent of excluding them)

(3) Looking on CFC as basically just a resource base (warm bodies, money, territorial presence, integrity) but not fully submitted to the overall governance of CFC. (We already saw this happening that's why we did not allow Tony to dictate us on our GK work in North A. If he wanted something installed, planted and constructed, we would tell him: where's the money? That's why we generated our funds separate from Ancop and GK National. We got the funds directly without passing through GK National nor Ancop. We accounted for all the money formally to all our donors...about P20 million in total.)

(4) The singular focus on GK that denigrates the other pillars, such as Pro-Life and Social Ministries. (Again, we did not allow Tony and his Team to interfere in such areas. we were independently managed GK villages. No problem on these areas)

The above are causing serious disunity and tension in CFC, especially among top leaders. Some would say that it is just a conflict between Tony Meloto and myself. This is not true.

Let me make it very clear, I am not against GK. Those who want to put me down have spread the lie that I am against or am attacking Tony Meloto or GK. But my record speaks for itself. All my books, articles, talks, teachings and papers are in strong support of GK. I do believe God gave GK to CFC so that it could do the wonderful work it is doing. As for Tony, he is my brother, with whom I have issues. For 7 long years I was Tony's defender and supporter. (Sorry na lang si Frank. Some leaders already saw this coming. But then Frank was an avid supporter of Tony. huli ang pagsisisi. Some brought this to the attention of Frank..Shirley was one of them. Instead Frank protected Tony. When we heard the way Frank and Tony talked on conferences, we knew, arrogance and pride was already building up. Tensions and conflicts bound to take place)

But the issues have persisted and the tension deepened, and I precisely want to confront the issues because of my love for and support to GK. (Let go. The new council members to be elected will finish this job. there are other leaders who know more than Frank in managing a foundation like CFC, GK and Ancop. Let God. Let the new Council do this job.)

Exacerbating this tension is the lack of dialogue. Tony Meloto does not want to have a dialogue or even meet. He does not attend our fraternal household meetings and he does not attend the meeting called by the Council to talk about the issues. Unfortunately, the Council itself, while having many meetings with different leaders, has not been eager to meet with me or with Lachie Agana. I and Lachie have always been the ones pursuing them for a dialogue. While there have been some meetings, there has certainly not been enough talking among us. (Frank should not think highly of himself. He should allow and respect the 4 council members to do their jobs---what he failed to do in the last 20 years for CFC and the last 7 years for GK and Ancop. Let go. There are leaders better than us!)

Is this about power and control?

There are also those who insinuate that I am just after power and control. Again this is farthest from the truth, and my record bears this out.

(1) When CFC went separate ways with Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon (LNP) in 1993, I voluntarily relinquished my position of Executive Director and did not stand for election to the CFC Council for the 1993-1995 term.

(2) When I sensed the Lord wanting the Council to take command responsibility for collective guilt of the whole community, I voluntarily stepped down from the Council and being CFC Director last February 20. (Many of us also get leadings and sense from the Lord. Sorry, no one has monopoly of gifts. In fact, the sudden stepping down and resignation on Feb. 20 should not have been done..they should have waited until June 22...It would not have been dramatic and controversies and conflicts would not have surfaced. Unless, it was part of a "game plan" ---so sure that they will be nominated again. It did not happen! Run to the bishops! Sorry, Frank mishandled the Feb. 20 resignation...Lamentation.)

(3) When I saw how the top leaders (the 7 in the former Council) were in conflict, I said it was no longer a question of who was right or wrong, but we needed to acknowledge that we were the problem, and so I proposed that the 7 of us should not be available to the new Council (2007-2009). Luis Oquinena and Issa Santos of GK agreed with this in principle, and the members of the Board of Elders (12 present out of 15) all agreed with this. However, the Council (of 4) did not agree.(Sorry, but the 4 must have decided this way. We have to respect their decision. Frank was the bossman for more than 20 years...he should let go and allow the 4 to manage and even commit mistakes..if need be. Once you resigned, that's it! Huwag ka nang makialam, please. time is up...give chance to others.)

(4) Even as I was trying to find ways and means of resolving some of the conflicts, and thus proposed being given the opportunity to name additional nominees to the Council, I told the Council and Bp Gabby Reyes that I would exclude myself. (I think, not the nature of Frank to go to the Bishops. It was Frank's loyalists who must have done the Bishop route. Sad because some bishops find Frank and CFC arrogant. Now, Frank is using the bishop when Lamentation did not work? Let's be men and not boys. Let's face our problems squarely. Why run to the Bishops when all these years, we tried to ignore them? this is not consistent. Para tayong mga batang naagawan ng lolipop at tumatakbo sa ating tatay at nagsusumbong....nakakahiya!)

Even now, I have no problem being excluded, if that is what it will take to gain moral ascendancy and thus be given the opportunity to help bring peace, reconciliation, healing and unity to our community.

Elders should not hold on to position, especially if they are the cause of conflict and disunity. This calls for simple humility, delicadeza, not hardening our hearts, and confidence in our deep bench of leaders, especially the younger ones. (Let go and let God. If CFC is still part of God's plan, it will recover and flourish once more....not with the old leaders but with new ones. Actually, Frank, Tony, Roquel and Lachie were overstaying aging leaders. they should have stepped down 10 years ago. Power, fame, glory, fund concept....service cum vacation.....etc.)

The current issue right now is that our bishops, deeply cognizant of the conflict within CFC (especially among each one of the 7 brothers in the former Council), have issued a letter to the Elders Assembly strongly recommending the 7 to talk about the issues and for the June elections to be postponed. They wisely say that major decisions should not be made in a situation of deep conflict and division.(What divides the body is the intereference of Frank and his group in the running of affairs by the remaining four (4). Please give them a chance. We gave Frank more than 20 years to rule...let go and let God)

The 3 bishops who issued the letter are: Bp Gabby Reyes (Chair of the Episcopal Commission on the Laity and our CFC National Spiritual Director), Archbp Angel Lagdameo (President of the CBCP) and Bp Soc Villegas (under the direct authority of Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales, Archbishop of Manila). We can see that collectively they truly represent the Church hierarchy. (I wonder if Bishop Lagdameo and the two other bishops really know the "real score"? Let us not run to the Bishop on matters that we normally do on our own on a year to year basis..Election takes place every two years and there were no such problems. why? Because they were all part of the nominations...If no election will take place, then the 4 will be on a hold over situation. sorry, hindi parin makakapasok si Frank.)

The bishops issued their letter last June 7, with Bp Gabby Reyes himself bringing the letter to the Home Office. However, instead of bringing the 7 together to talk, the Council issued its "CFC Council Statement" the next day, June 8, but dated (antedated?) June 6, regarding the holding of the elections on June 22. Then the Council issued its letter to the bishops also on June 8 but dated June 7, rejecting the postponement of the elections. The bishops had just released their letter, and the Council was immediately rejecting it. Why? (I heard that the bishops were still in Rome on June 7--how come they were able to write and sign the letter on June 7? Why zero in on such matters when what matters is only an election? why are Frank and co. so concerned about the election? Are they protecting something inside CFC?)

I believe this is very disrespectful to the bishops. (sorry, this is too judgemental! Not typical of Frank.)

As such, this can endanger our evangelization work, as the other bishops in the provinces (and even abroad) may look on CFC as disobedient at worse or as disrespectful at best. (Let it be. Let go and let God)

This can also endanger our official recognition, as a National Association of Lay Faithful by the CBCP and as an International Lay Association of Christian Faithful by the Holy See (Vatican).(why are we concerned of recognitions and titles? Can we not work without such recognitions and titles? A good work cannot be hidden. With or without recognition, all of us should simply do our day-to-day witnessing...with or without CFC.)

Further, the bishops' letter was addressed to the Elders Assembly. The Council did not have the right to reject the bishops, as they do not speak for the Elders Assembly. Neither did they consult the Elders Assembly. They simply bypassed and usurped the power and authority of the Elders Assembly. This is very disrespectful to the Elders Assembly. This is so ironic, being done by those so intent on legalities. (we cannot judge. I wonder if Frank is still in power if he will ever think about these things? If i was Joe Tale, the Exec. Director, i would have caused the immediate election of 3 new Board/Council to replace them when they resigned on Feb. 20. Mabuti na lang mabait pa at hindi alam ni Joe T ang tamang procedure in case of vacancy. Of course, they can still do this now, even before June 22.)

But will postponing the elections cause greater disunity as the Council claims? I believe not, since we precisely will have the opportunity to talk about the issues and work at healing and reconciliation. But how about our time-honored tradition and process of elections? Well, what the bishops are asking for is just a postponement, not a total scrapping. Besides, when David and Jesus' own disciples "violated" the sabbath and did what was unlawful, Jesus defended them, saying "The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath." (Mk 2:24-28). By the same token, our processes are at the service of our community. When the bishops are so concerned that they issue such a strong recommendation, it is improper for us to cite tradition or processes.( If i were in the place of Joe T. i will elect the 3 and rule CFC until the Elders Assembly are ready to elect. In the meantime, the work continues. The 4 plus the new elected 3 can now take over CFC Board, GK Board and Ancop Board, and EFI Board. And maybe start auditing all the books of accounts of these 4 foundations---which by the way should have been conducted immediately when Joe T assumed the post.)

Brothers and sisters, our bishops are not "pakialamero." They have better things to do than to involve themselves in petty quarrels. But this is not the case with CFC. They see that what is happening as very serious and can indeed threaten the very life and mission of CFC, which is the life and mission of the Church herself. The bishops are acting as concerned pastors, aside from the reality that they love CFC, just as we do. Why can we not heed these holy and discerning pastors given by God to us, among other things, for our protection? Why are we so quick to deny the spiritual discernment of our 3 bishops, whom we know to be holy men and loving pastors? Are we not a Catholic community? (Actually, i had a proposal before that all the CFC provinces should become autonomous with the CFC Center reduced to 5 full time staff for coordination purposes. Then each CFC group will be submitted to the Bishops. Tithes should go to the Bishops rather than the CFC Center. What is the added value of "feeding a CFC Center" when each CFC area is a stand alone CFC life--mission and vision--family renewal-parish renewl and society renewal.)

My posture

I am for peace, healing, reconciliation and unity. I do understand that we are in Lamentations and God is pruning us, so I can look at the difficulties and challenges quite positively. We have much to learn. But for us to learn the lessons of Lamentations, we need humility. In humility, we must defer to our beloved bishops.(Let go, let God!)

If the elections, contrary to the direction of the bishops, are still held this June 22 as the Council insists, without dialogue and without hearing the Elders Assembly, I cannot in conscience participate. I cannot defy the bishops when they are in the right and are just so very concerned about our well-being.(We might as well attach ourselves to the Bishops. Each Province and Each Sector submitted totally to the Bishop..under the direction of the Bishop...under the umbrella of the Family Life more powerful CFC Center. The CFC work will be managed by a group of elders who are all volunteers--no salaries...meeting every quarter with Sector Heads overseeing provincial work...anyway, manuals and procedures are available already)

The Elders Assembly on June 22 does not have to go to waste. I can see certain things it can profitably take on.

(1) Start working on the issues, or at least defining them.

(2) Appoint a Lamentations Commission that will look into the issues.

(3) Set parameters and timetables.

(4) Appoint an interim governing "Council."

(5) Even look into changes in the by-laws proposed by the BOE.

My appeal

I ask the current Council to humbly heed the bishops. I ask my brothers to be at the forefront of working at healing and unity, and this entails not being legalistic or unyielding or even disrespectful to our bishops. I continue to assure them, as I have already done so, that I look on them as my brothers and continue to extend the hand of peace.

I ask the Elders Assembly to seek the truth. In this, you may freely ask me anything and I will try to answer objectively. I know from reports that there are those doing a demolition job on me. But I have nothing to hide. I aspire for no position. I am your brother who all this time, in spite of my own shortcomings, have tried to be faithful to God and CFC and to all of you. I believe you can still rely on me to stand for truth and justice.

Since Manila is the center of our global work and is the center of governance over CFC, I ask the Metro Manila elders to seriously consider the proper posture we should have in relation to the Church hierarchy. It must be no other than respect and submission. You know that I myself have been very strong on lay empowerment and on recognizing the shortcomings of some clergy. But these 3 bishops are beyond any reproach, and are very clearly holy men of God. Their word, and their common discernment, should bear much weight for us.

I ask the Area Heads to consult with the Area Councils, and for them together to go to their bishops for advice. Any backlash from this action of the Council will affect our evangelization in your provinces. And you cannot point to the Council because the bishops' letter is addressed to the Elders Assembly, which include you (Area Heads).

I ask our beloved bishops to be patient with us. We are your children who are quarreling. You have lovingly tried to intervene as pastors. You have been rejected. Please forgive us. There are still many of us who look to you for wisdom and guidance and who are obedient to holy Mother Church. Please continue to show us the way.

And to all my beloved brothers and sisters in CFC, forgive us our transgressions. Forgive us for falling short on our being pastors and models. But please continue your work. Be focused on Jesus. God loves CFC and will continue to use CFC in the power of the Spirit. For those among us who stand in God's way, God will deal with us. Please pray for us. (Frank, Tony and Lachie's time are up. Let others do the work accordingly. let's give them a chance. Let us not undermine the work that they can do for CFC. Let go. Let God.)

This is the feast of Corpus Christi, the body of Christ. May the Lord look kindly upon us in CFC, the body of disciples He has raised, and faithfully renew His favors and mercies upon us all.

May God bless us all.

In the service of Christ,

Frank Padilla

On the feast of Corpus Christi

Note: This is sent to the global family, as the letter of the Council has been sent to the global family, in the interest of fairness, truth and justice. I also attach the bishops' letter, which as far as I know has not been sent out by the Council.

"For to me life is Christ, and death is gain." (Phil 1:21)

Still coming, where does the money (tithes) go? Pandora's Box, Home Office financial issues, and the CFC Cash box.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Politics, Politics, Politics...

It seems my friends, that this issue has made the news.

Press statements have been issued and lines in the sand have been drawn.

The quest for truth has become much, much more important.

I ask now:

Who is on the offensive, and who is on the defensive?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Box, A Bunny, and the Easter Eggs

It's time for a late (or early for next year) Easter Egg Hunt. I'll lay the clues, you can all follow and show me the Eggs you find.

1st Clue
The PCIJ Investigation that was brought up in a prior entry and was pointed out in an anonymous comment.


Here is a quote from the article:

In 2004, DOH even awarded P50 million to the religious group Couples for Christ to fund a government program called Responsible Parenthood-Natural Family Planning (RP-NFP). According to its own website, the CFC considers sex education, contraception, sterilization, in vitro fertilization, and population control as “anti-life.”

Couples for Christ was one of the first groups to mobilize its members during Edsa II, which resulted in the ouster of then President Joseph Estrada and Arroyo’s ascension to power. In a June 2004 report to then Health Secretary Manuel Dayrit to cover the first tranche of the money, CFC said it used the fund to conduct almost a hundred lectures on natural family planning, “chastity education” campus tours, and media and public relations expenses.

Lawyer Rhodora Roy Raterta, executive director of the Family Planning Organization of the Philippines (FPOP), says the deal violated the principle of separation of church and state, “as the CFC is known to have links with the Catholic Church.” But what made it worse, she says, were reports that CFC also used its trainings to denounce artificial contraception.

“The bottom line is, it’s wrong,” says Raterta. She also says that funding natural family planning alone violates the Constitutional provision that says the government will protect the right of spouses to found a family in accordance with their personal religious convictions.

2nd Clue

An article by A.G. Romualdez Jr. in the Malaya titled "Biblical Pregnancies."

Here is a quote:

Given their facility for rationalization, it is not surprising that those who ousted Joseph Estrada for plunder (defined as stealing at least 50 million pesos from the people) did not hesitate to enter into a fraudulent contract (worth 100 million pesos) with the Department of Health. Theirs was a just cause, extremists among the "Couples for Christ" claim, they were preventing government from promoting sexual promiscuity among the Filipino people. Ostensibly, the contract was to promote "natural family planning" among the poor. However, all evidence – participants’ accounts of training programs as well as the teaching manuals developed – indicates that the intention was to discourage family planning as a norm and to denigrate the other "sinful" but scientifically effective methods such as pills, condoms and IUDs. For some reason, after the initial release of 50 million pesos, the organization did not pursue the subsequent release – possibly because, in order to do so, they would be required to submit a financial accounting of the original disbursement.

3rd Clue

Senator Loi Ejercito Estrada's proposed Senate Resolution No. 117:


Read the whole resolution in pdf format here:


And finally, the 4th Clue, one from our own commenters.

"The CFC Shame That Is Poised To Be A Scandal"

Here is an excerpt:
And inside CFC, the uneasiness of many about how Gerry Padilla and Maribel Descallar were using the money to fund travels and meetings which had more to do with building the Teodora agenda that a massive natural family planning program worth the government's money and value-added contributions by CFC which already claimed Pro-Life as a pillar - paid or not.

Now, for my questions (I've already led the way to the interesting answers) :

What is the DOH CFC project?

How much was involved?

What happened to the project?

If you know more, or have answers to the questions, please feel free to email or comment.

Coming soon...we find out if Pandora's Box contains Playboy...err, Easter Bunnies. Find your Eggs!

Edit to add:

The DOH/CFC project has allegedly not been audited. Some people have claimed that it has, I would certainly appreciate proof of that.

If it has not been audited since the project cessation in 2005, one would wonder if it has anything to do with Alex Padilla (SFC), the brother of Frank, being the U.Sec of DOH.