Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Village That Frank Built Pt II: The Issues

UPDATED 08/11/2008
Blogger Round Eyed Toddler queries Mario Pareno and gets a detailed response.

UPDATED
08/08/2008
Easter Group emails a response, by a certain Mario Pareno.

UPDATED
7/31/2008 2:00AM
Document on the land acquistion and amortization scheme added.
Report detailing issues added.
Full translations of Salaysay added.
Pictures from the 7/20 build attempt.

UPDATED
7/29/2008 9:00AM
Partial translation of Salaysay added.

To those who've been following this blog since last year, you might remember the first hints of strife at the CFC International GK Village at Remarville, when some comments were posted back in October of 2007. The first was in the Time To Wrap It Up entry. I quote:


Anonymous said...

FFL said that there is no coercion in making people attend there activities...well maybe they have to ask jun junia and pancho lopez tan what they are doing with the beneficiaries of gk remarville...if they will not attend they will b ejected...and for the young ffl...why is it that if a ftw doesnt join you binabastos nyo...(xavy dont do it again ha)...and what kind of community are you building that is based on putting others down and labeling them us un christian?
I have 2 appeals for FFL to consider...
1. Can we all please move forward without maligning others.
2. tito frank pls stop acting like your God.


The next comment showed up in the Another One entry:

neokidntown said...

From what I heard, FFL is now managing former GK sites like the GK CFC International Village (Remarville).

The beneficiaries were asked to sign the petition paper that GK turns over the site to FFL.

I was told everyone signed the petition paper.

I’d like to know, is it true that failure to sign would mean ejection from the village?

Can anyone shed light on this?


Obviously, this isn't a "new" issue. People have known what the FFL (as represented by Jun Junia) have been up to, since last year.

You've seen the pictures in the first part of this series. Take a look at how CFC International GK Village looks like now:


We'll start this story with an account of events from within:





Download Salaysay as a pdf HERE.
English translation HERE and HERE.

Many thanks goes to our translators!


There have already been several comments in part 1 that were interesting (and gave us an update of events), one of which asked the pertinent questions:

What are the leaders of FFL saying about this?

Are they condoning the stoppage of the build? Why?

As obviously displayed by the coercion going on since October of last year, is it logical to assume that this is with the blessings of the Easter Group since they claimed the site, rechristened it "restoration village" and are apparently the sole authority there. I am hearing reports that now, the FFL are attempting to wash their hands of this and distancing themselves from the whole affair, with even Jun Junia claiming he is CFC and not FFL. We MUST NOT let them get away with this. The record of events goes back almost a year, with a finger pointing to the FFL and Jun Junia clearly showing attempts at coerction, harrassment, and incredibly unchristian conduct.

I am appalled.

Addition:
As usual, I will welcome any communication from Jun Junia et al to air their side.

LAND ACQUISITION DETAILS AND AMORTIZATION SCHEME




Download this document as pdf HERE.

A PARTIAL SUMMARY OF ISSUES



Download this document as a pdf HERE.

JULY 20, 2008 BUILD ATTEMPT

Here are some images taken from the attempted build at Remarville that was reported first here, here, and the aftermath reported by Mike Santos here.

The first alarm sounded:
cfc international restoration village update!!!!!
this sunday july 19,2008, may build po sa dating gk village na ito but sadly to tell that they rejected our request to build the 3 houses for the 3 home office beneficiaries and they tell us under the command of dictator Jun Junia and his alliance group(atty.Ogie Bautista and the home owners board of directors na hilaw)to back off kasi daw ffl na daw ang lugar na ito kaya they will not allowed any attempt to build with other gk benefeciaries and of course with West c sector team to be lead by tito santos and delfi geraldez.Jun J, tell us if we will not comply his recommendation he said! dadanak ang dugo dito!!!! and he even called some names working in the nbi to give him support this sunday kasi daw sigurado na magkakagulo, pati barangay po pinapaalarma and he also instructed two of the board who working in ABC5 and Channel 2 to document the possible clash kasi daw tito s. insisted daw to enter the perimeter to build...he even instructed also na pagpumilit na pumasok ang mga cfc global at gk volunteers pukpukin na daw agad kaya nga kagabi sa meeting nila gumawa na sila ng letter for whatever happen this sunday may pan laban sila...he(Jun) even hired bugoy or tambay just for bakbakan daw sa sunday.....nasaan na po ang spirit ng cfc....200 expected volunteer to come, they come to support the build not to dimolish the area...oh! comm'n ffl drop ur pride and be united with us for the sake of the poor people living there....he admitted that they dont have funds anymore for the construction....kong sabagay wala silang pakialam kong wala silang pondo kasi kong ayaw mo na sa lugar na yan then you back out as homeowner and then they will sell your lot na mas mahal, i think 5000 or 5500 na yata per sqr.meter don before it was only 3500 per sqr.mter, kaya daw mahal kac na develop na ang lugar..ang tanong po? sino po ba ang nagdevelop ng lugar na yon, di po ba gk....they also said na lahat na cfc-gmfi sa lugar ay hahanapan daw ng butas para maalis...calling the attention of gk national to step up to this issue...taposin na ang dapat taposin...tama na!Sobra na!Palitan na!! walang iwanan di ba!!!!!


cfc remarville

Reported by Mike Santos:

About the Remarville Build tomorrow July 20,2008.

The build is initiated and coordinated by GK National. And is intended for the CFC full time workers who are beneficiaries and lot owners in this site.

CFC West C GK workers and volunteers are part of the team who will support the build. All volunteers were asked to gather at the basketball court.

Tito Jun Junia is aware of this scheduled build.

Before the build was scheduled, talks were ongoing between the FFL (Lito De Guzman) and CFC (thru CFC West C GK Tito Santos). Also Tito Santos (my dad) is constantly communicating with Tito Jun Junia about the site and its benficiaries.

FFL (thru Lito De Guzman) has agreed to it and Tito Jun will refer it to the Homeowners Association of remarville.

-- one of my dad's SMS message to Tito Jun ---"GK natl has scheduled a build on Sunday 9am to 5pm at remarville, hope to make the start of uniting our hearts again even with 2 organizations"---

Let's pray for this and may all our hearts be melted and peace reign as we strive to follow Jesus' way...
And the report of what happened after:
Remarville update:

CFC Volunteer workers were not allowed entry.

CFC leaders decided not to do build today.

CFC will be arranging a meeting with Remarville Homeowners Association and Jun Junia.







Note the kadena (chain)

08/08/08 CFC-FFL Response

A certain Mario Pareno gives his side of the story.

From: "Easter Group"
Date: Wed, 6 Aug 2008 20:04:17 -0700
From: m_pareno@yahoo.com.ph
Subject: Remarville and GK Manolo Villages: A Study in Contrast
To: eastergroup@gmail.com

Just as one gets the feeling both communities seem to be moving on their own comes an issue somehow blown out of proportion by CFC Global/GK regarding Remarville Village. The latter site apparently was taken over by CFCFFL upon the strong clamor of the KB officers themselves, the caretaker team, and even the beneficiaries. The apparent reason offered by the parties concerned was alleged and apparent neglect on the part of CFC/GK to continue with the houses. Bro. Frank apparently took pains raising the money for 132 houses but up to this time, only 55 units have been built. We were told that the KB itself formally requested CFC-FFL to take over in writing.

Upon closer scrutiny, it was allegedly discovered that what CFCFFL inherited from GK had still some pending land documentation issues and it was altogether premature and hasty for CFCFFL to take over without proper exercise of due diligence from the former caretakers, the CFC/GK. So the continuous building of the houses just had to stop pending the resolution of the issues.

Now, Bro. Frank again bears the brunt of potshots, malicious charges and baseless innuendoes that he built the village with a lot of problems. ALL HE DID AT THE TIME HE WAS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR WAS TO RAISE THE FUNDS AND IT WAS UP TO GK TO BUILD THE HOUSES. Of course,the rest is history because came the split and the site was left with GK until the very recent takeover which was not without its attendant problems left by GK to CFCFFL.

Contrast this to another GK village in GK Manolo, Valenzuela where the same situation hangs and persists. The number of promised houses have not materialized after 2 years. Apparently irked by the non-delivery of the houses as promised, some beneficiaries have resorted to building their own homes from borrowed funds, without help from CFC/GK. Still others have gone beyond the official design and in the site are now dwellings with more than one floor, apparently now a common site to see in other villages as well.

But what was more disturbing was the continued ostracism received by two families because they chose to affiliate themselves with CFCFFL. It goes without saying that they were told that they cannot hope to see their houses built because of their affiliations. Instead of making these cases a federal issue, the community just quietly raised the necessary funds to complete these houses. Now, the two families are happily settled in their new homes built by their CFCFFL brethren.

A contrast in approach: Remarville and Manolo villages and how two communities responded to the call.

You be the judge.

Mario

Note that practically everything claimed in this email, ie:

"..upon the strong clamor of the KB officers themselves"

"...what CFCFFL inherited from GK had still some pending land documentation issues and it was altogether premature and hasty for CFCFFL to take over without proper exercise of due diligence from the former caretakers, the CFC/GK."

Etc.

have already been covered in the "Salaysay".

He's asking us to be the judge. I believe we need to be supplied with evidence to make our own proper judgement, correct? First but certainly not the least, please explain the FFL's Jun Junia and his actions.

UPDATED 08/11/2008
Blogger Round Eyed Toddler queries Mario Pareno and gets a detailed response.

----- Original Message ----
From: Round-Eyed Toddler <roundeyedtoddler@gmail.com>
To: m_pareno@yahoo.com.ph
Sent: Saturday, August 9, 2008 10:12:12 AM
Subject: Remarville and GK Manolo Villages: A Study in Contrast

Bro Mario,
What role did you play in Remarville? Just curious. Then how do you explain the issues presented in these documents?

How do you explain the pictures of Remarville residents who blocked the entry of Couples for Christ volunteers to build the houses of home office workers? Click here, and here, then here, here, and finally here! Tell me why the sensibilities of relatively newer members of the community should not be affected by the brazen display of unChristian defiance of these residents? What does your Most Honorable and Most Humble Servant General Frank Padilla, the name above all names in the Catholic renewal movement for Christian couples, say about all these?

The Round-Eyed Toddler

Mr. Pareno responds:
On 08 10, 08, at 10:23 AM, Mario Pareno wrote:

My,my you are frothing all over. Not surprising for a toddler.
I am just as curious who the round-eyed toddler is. No one who hides under the skirt of anonymity (no pun intended as toddlers are wont to hide under the skirts of their moms) has any right to ask about roles if he is not willing to come up front and reveal his real identity... Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, Bulatro, whatever.

Besides, ever heard of investigative journalism? More to come in our sequel coming from the residents themselves.

RET:

On Sat, Aug 9, 2008 at 10:22 PM, Round-Eyed Toddler <roundeyedtoddler@gmail.com> wrote:

My name is inconsequential. Would you have cared if I told you my name? You won't see my name in any of the pages as I am someone new to the community when GK started. But now, I just happen to be someone who feels strongly about this whole thing and none of the actions in Remarville is helping anybody, not even you in FFL. What do you think all this brouhaha will accomplish? Prove that someone's right and someone's wrong, as if Christ is smiling at everyone at the gate of Remarville on July 20? You gave a very "brotherly" reply. I wish you luck in your newfound community. A certain "spirit" appears to be working in you. We, in Couples for Christ, will move on. You certainly have the prayers of my community.

{RET's real name, CFC Chapter and Mobile number was indicated here in the actual email}

It would be interesting to see what Mr. Pareno will dig up. To him and the commenter who said,
"Imagine you do not have enough evidence and yet you wrote things against whomever you can put based on your sources."

I say, bring it on. I welcome ALL evidence. Let the chips fall where they may.


To be continued.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Village That Frank Built

This is the 1st in an ongoing series on the CFC International GK Village.

Part II is HERE.
Part III is HERE.



Overview




Location
CFC International GK Village is located along Zodiac St., in Remarville Subd., Brgy. Bagbag, Novaliches, Quezon City.


I'm hoping this will be the start of the online mapping of all GK sites across the globe. It took me about 30 minutes to pinpoint using visual references on WikiMapia and Mapcentral.ph


I've also added its location in WikiMapia.

Frank Padilla gives us the gist:

Frank Padilla wrote:
Date: Sun, 15 Jan 2006 21:24:05 +0800
To: COUNTRY COORDINATORS ,
COUNTRY HEADS
From: Frank Padilla
CC: , Pancho & Marilyn Lopez-Tan <>
Subject: [Countrycoords] int'l GK village

Hello brethren. The Int'l GK Village is a go. It will be located in Remarville in Quezon City. The total lot area is 4,904 sqm. and we will build 132 houses. This village is for CFC members including about 10 of our own employees. We will build row housing, with each house having two floors of 18 sqm each or a total of 36 sqm. So it is larger than the normal 20 sqm house. The beneficiaries have already been identified and are currently undergoing values formation. The Kapitbahayan is already in place. Some site development work is already ongoing, but formal groundbreaking will be on Feb 4.

For the houses in this village, our material cost will be about 75,000 pesos. At a peso-dollar exchange of 52.65, that would be about US$1,425. You of course know that there are many more costs involved aside from just the raw materials. These will be covered by local padugo. You also know that our sponsorship cost for the 20 sqm house, starting 2006, was already raised from $1,000 to $1,200. I am asking for a sponsorship amount of US$1,300 for the Int'l GK Village. For this particular project, there will be no retention, either by Ancop abroad or by GK locally. The full $1,300 will be given to the GK site.

Our target is one country, one home. Please let me know if CFC in your country is going to sponsor a home. The money may be remitted as soon as you are able to raise it. The amount should not come from what has been raised by Ancop or by CFC from partners and contributors. It should come from our members. You should have a special drive to raise the amount, and hopefully in the process get our members (in those countries that are not yet that involved in Ancop or GK) to be more cognizant and appreciative of our work in GK.

You are invited to the Int'l GK Build and hopefully dedication on June 18. We will all go to the site and have our brethren from all over the world participate in building and finishing this village.

The privilege of those countries that opt not to sponsor a home will be given to the other countries until we fill up the sponsorship of all 132 homes. I will be waiting to hear from you.

God bless you all.

frank

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

Highlights in bold are mine.

And so it began:

From Vision


To Reality


The call was answered; from our own UP students to people from overseas


Homes were completed, and CFC International GK Village was gradually populated.


In part 2, we'll dig into the story behind the anomalies, the FFL's involvement, and stories from those who actually live there.

Resources:

I've used or referenced photos from the following Multiply accounts:
Veran1222
Mia12Polka
CFC North C
Bikey
Sleekchic87
lmujunebug
Lolacat

Saturday, July 26, 2008

R.I.P. Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon who gave a "last lecture" on Sept. 18, 2007. He recently passed on July 25, 2008, but his last lecture was so inspiring that it was covered by everybody from Oprah to Diane Sawyer. While he didn't cover religion in his talk, there many things he did say that make sense and can make a difference in our lives.

Please take the time to watch:







The book is HERE.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Hearts of Eagles

Lets take a little diversion from the Fr. Tulabings and "Restoration" villages. I think maybe they'll need a little time for thinking and listening to their hearts.

Fr. Tulabing, I hope, will take a look at this blog, open his eyes and discern with the heart the Lord gave him. I am also hoping our hard hearted brothers who blocked entry at the Remarville GK site will look beyond greed, prejudice, and pride, and figure out that this issue goes beyond a mere name or title. I'm collecting documents, images, and evidence, but I'd like to give them some time to have a change of heart.

I draw your attention now to another speech made by Tony Meloto at the All Ateneo Alumni Convention that was held in Chicago, USA last July 5th.

The Eagle is Not Too Old to Fly
By Antonio Meloto
July 5, 2008
All Ateneo Alumni Convention held at Hyatt Hotel, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Image from lightwalks.com

Please pardon me for looking odd as your guest speaker in my khaki pants and tight barong on this gala night of the All Ateneo Alumni Convention. My plane lost an engine and had to land in Seattle instead of Detroit . I lost my luggage and had to fit in this shirt from a generous soul who is twenty pounds lighter.

Thank you Ateneans USA President, Dr. Jun Farrales, for inviting me. Greetings to Ateneo de Davao President Fr. Ting Samson, S.J., the man who made me look intelligent by giving me a PhD in Humanities Honoris Causa last year. Good evening to all co-alumni and guests. While this is a mixed age group of Ateneo Alumni, a gathering of the brightest and the best of our graduates of all ages who now call America home, the focus of this message is for those who are over fifty years old, if there are any around besides myself. I hope those below fifty listen well because there is a lot of inspiration and lessons to be learned from the journey of my generation.

Career-wise, most of us reach our peak at fifty. At that point, we are at the summit of our life in experience and influence. We who have traveled far and struggled hard to get there still have much energy left to fly, no longer for self, but for greater causes that can harness the expertise and resources we have built over the years.

I believe that this is the reason why I was invited to speak to you tonight. After building your American dream, the apple of your eyes now is the Philippines and you want to explore new ways of expressing your affection for her. Not that you have stopped caring or helping in the past, but most of you are eager to do it at this point when you have the time to really make a difference. What is clear to me is that the eagle is not too old or too tired to be a hero for our country. Many of you have passion for golf or basketball which is good for the body. I hope you can add to this the passion for nation-building which is good for your soul.

Being a hero to your family is no stranger to you. You have slaved long hours, endured the worst bosses on the planet, and survived the coldest winters in America that your body is not accustomed to for the love of family. That is heroism that every human parent is designed for, especially Filipinos. To do otherwise would be a betrayal of that nature. Filipinos in America have succeeded exceedingly well in that field of struggle – building the most comfortable nests that are probably empty when they reach fifty and raising children equipped with the best education and a sense of independence to make it on their own.

Now you have the freedom to retire and relax here to enjoy your success which you deserve or to extend yourself beyond family and beyond this country and share your success with the people and the places where it will matter most in the land of your birth.

We are inviting you to come home and be a hero to our people, to be hope to the hopeless, to visit the abandoned and the forgotten, to help us seek the least and the lost. Tonight, I honor those who have responded to this call and the many others who will follow.

We are inviting you to visit our Gawad Kalinga communities and discover what is good and true in the Filipino because every village is built with nobility and the greatness of the spirit of our people that inspire even foreigners to help. Many Fil-Ams and foreigners have come to build, others to experience and study the phenomenon, some for their masters and PhD dissertations. The recent builders came from Georgetown and Yale; six non-Filipinos from Loyola University of Chicago stayed for six months as members of the first GK Builders Corps. Something good from the Philippines is catching global attention.

Yes, this is an invitation for us to build a nation that we can all be proud of, raised not just by our collective genius but by our common resolve to stop living in shame as a people. Many Filipinos, starting with myself, are guilty for what our country has become, but feeling guilty alone will not bring a nation out of poverty. We have to convert regret to reform, concern to action, shame to honor. We have to raise Filipinos to be first-class citizens in the Philippines so none of our people will feel second-class anywhere in the world.

Wherever I go in the United States, I sense a longing here for our homeland. This growing nostalgia is opening channels for philanthropy and investment unseen before. Almost four hundred out of our 1,700 GK villages are funded and visited by partners and volunteers from the United States , and more are coming. Gawad Kalinga is bringing out the best in the Fil-Ams by showing them the best in our people at home.

They are inspired when they meet former istambays who give up vices and start to work, some even taking two jobs like Filipinos abroad. They now understand what many of us knew all along: the Filipino is not lazy when he is in the right environment. The problem of poverty in our country is not the lack of work but the lack of motivation to work when there is no hope or aspiration. GK provides them the environment, the values, and the motivation to be productive citizens. In our experience, poverty and corruption are behavioral, cultural, and moral issues before they are economic.

Our resident Pilosopo Tasyo from Ateneo Class of ‘69 remarked about this phenomenon in GK, “When it was clear to me that poverty was not primarily about economics, when it was clear to me that corruption was not primarily about law, it also became clear to me that despair perpetuates poverty, perpetuates corruption. I learned this because the entry of hope changes everything, as though hope were the light that transforms night to day. I learned that what Gawad Kalinga does, which is the most important, is to rearrange the ingredients of life so that hope can emerge with basis.”

Gawad Kalinga brings great hope to the nation because it inspires great generosity from an army of volunteers who help the needy when they themselves are in need. Many are building homes for the homeless when they themselves are still renting or living with relatives.

Gawad Kalinga invites trust because it inspires Filipinos to be trustworthy, even politicians. One truly bright spot in our country today is the emergence of young and capable leaders preparing their towns for investment and development by land banking and building sustainable GK communities and farms to address homelessness and hunger. This removes a major roadblock in our effort to scale up as lack of trust is oftentimes the excuse of many for not helping although the heart wants to.

To build a nation is to have direct impact on the lives of the poor, fifty million of them in our country as of the last count, and to influence those who have the power and the means to help them. The effort has to be visible, transformative, and empowering; otherwise, it will not be massive or sustainable. It can start with charity but it must be a work of social justice to even the playing field and to recognize that all Filipinos are equal in worth and dignity. It begins with the heart where love resides, but it must be sustained with excellence and stewardship. Without love, there is no justice; without justice, there is no peace. Despite our abundance in material resources and talent, our nation will not prosper unless we learn to love our country and work for justice for our people.

Philippine Daily Inquirer, in choosing me as Filipino of the Year in 2006, cited Gawad Kalinga as a gift from God to the Filipino people, which one day will be the gift of the Filipino people to the world. In receiving this award, it was clear to me that I was just doing so on behalf of the multitude of heroes who have made this miracle possible. It has not been my habit to speak about my role in a work that humbles me, but tonight I will give you a glimpse of my life as a late bloomer in social development who discovered that it is never too late to love country beyond self. Perhaps it will help you find new expressions of what it is to live for others.

The first fifty years of our life is an invitation for success; beyond that is an invitation for greatness. Success is to accomplish for self; greatness is to accomplish for others.

I come from Ateneo class ’71, AB Economics, the batch of Jun Ross, the more famous one among us in college who needs our prayers now in his battle against cancer. Please pray for his quick recovery so he can continue to fly with us. This year I turned fifty-eight, normally a good age to slowdown and reduce the amount of stress in a man’s life. But I am a restless fifty-eight. I am consumed with two goals at the second phase of my life. First, I dream that the Philippines will be the first Christian country in Asia that will rise from poverty. Second, I want my children to be among the first generation of Filipinos who will live with pride and honor in our country.

These are big dreams that have captured my heart at this time when my blood pressure is no longer stable without maintenance from Pfizer, and my psoriasis is uncontrollable without the aid of Wyeth. I mentioned these two pharmaceutical companies because their CEOs are Ateneo graduates and close friends who are concerned with my health and those of the poor in our Gawad Kalinga communities.

They, too, are not too old to dream of a better life for our people. Unlike most of you, my being Atenean was more by destiny, not by privilege of birth. It was Fr. Thomas Steinbugler, SJ, the Dean of Admissions forty years ago, who broke convention and changed history by opening the door of the Katipunan campus to ambitious young men like myself from public schools who had no pedigree; only big dreams and the determination to build a better life than the one we had.

More than the equipment for success in whatever career path I chose, Ateneo planted in me the seed of what it is to be Filipino and Catholic – to be a man for others.

As part of the scholarship package, I worked as a porter in both Cervini and Eliazo dorms with other scholars like respected columnist Conrado de Quiros. In my four years at the university, I was accepted as a friend and equal by everyone who knew that I came from the lower class and a different background. It was my first taste of a non-discriminatory, inclusive community in what was a traditionally exclusive environment. It was liberating for someone like myself who always felt second class in Bacolod City where I came from. The rich were not unkind to me, but somehow I never felt I was an equal to them. I did not blame them either. Somehow I knew it was not their fault that they inherited a way of life where human value was measured by the size of one’s land or the sound of one’s name.

My time at the Ateneo was also a period of societal change. The dark clouds of the First-Quarter Storm were brewing in the campuses, and there was growing unrest in the countryside. Jesuit Fr. JJ Jesena, my guardian and relative by affinity, shocked the public and upset the landed aristocracy of my home province with his revealing and disturbing book on the miserable life of our sugarcane workers; the sacadas of Negros . What was disturbing to others was normal to me because I grew up with them.

All the social conscientization of the time plus my deep admiration for friends and martyrs, Emman Lacaba and Ed Jopson, were not compelling enough for me to drop my ambition and join the cause. I was the young eagle then who was eager to fly away because I had nothing to give back to those I left behind in Negros . There was no reason for me to go home. I had no land, no money, no pedigree. There was only massive hunger and insurgency waiting for me.

So I stayed in Manila and tried to build a life, just like the squatters who flock to the city because there is no hope for them in the province. The big difference was that I had an Ateneo education while most of them barely had anything. I raised my family inside exclusive subdivisions; they raised theirs in squatter colonies outside my walls. Heaven and hell were just a few meters away from each other. Like most Filipinos, I found comfort in religion but had no time to give comfort to poor Lazarus outside my gate.

Oftentimes, we curse the squatters for making our world ugly, for the threat to our safety, and for being a burden to society. Yes they are…because we forgot to practice our Christianity on them. Our failure in social justice deprived them of land and home, of dignity and honor, of dreams an aspirations, to build a future in the towns where they were born. They are impoverished squatters in a country with so much land and wealth in the possession of a few.

It is the same migratory pattern like most of you who flew to the United States as poverty, corruption, activism, and militarization grew in our country. It is but natural for us to escape threats to our safety and comfort and to search for our oasis where we can thrive and prosper. No one has the right to judge anyone of you for leaving the country, as no one has the right to judge the poor for leaving their province to seek survival elsewhere.

Unlike them, you were driven by hope because you were designed to succeed while they were forced to leave out of desperation, oftentimes because of calamity, conflict or hunger. You prospered in the most competitive economy in the world with your strong motivation and great capacity for hard work, while the poor, who are congesting our cities, failed to make life better for themselves and for everyone else. They know how to fish, but the big city is no fishing ground for them. Our goal in Gawad Kalinga is to make life in the province more attractive for them not to leave and for those in the city to go back. And for those who do well to come home and help.

Like this eagle who flew back to Negros, In 2003, a young Englishman, who fell in love with GK, my country, and my daughter…in that order, gave my wife and me an unusual gift on our silver anniversary – one hundred homes to give to the poor in our respective hometowns. We built fifty homes for her in Concepcion , Tarlac, where she hails from, and fifty homes for the farm workers where I come from in La Carlota City. Today, there are thirty-two GK villages in nineteen towns and cities in Negros Occidental and more to open up…and more hacienderos giving land for homes and farms to the poor. I am finally home.

We are now calling on all patriots-in-exile in the US and Canada to come home and help us build our nation. The Philippines is claiming back her best talents on loan to other countries with interest. Please go back to your towns and provinces, not just to your families but to other families in need, not just with your balikbayan boxes but with your balikbayani hearts.


Our local heroes are waiting for you. The thirteen Blue Eagle GK villages in Quezon City, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Bicol, and Davao look forward to your visit and support. We have over 400 mayors and governors and thousands of volunteers and GK residents willing to match your heroism – love for love, sweat for sweat, skill for skill.


We need immediate help for Panay which was devastated by typhoon Frank last week. Relief agencies are all over the island easing the misery of 80,000 families needing food, medicine, and temporary shelters. Soon Gawad Kalinga will start building sustainable GK communities in relocation sites, safe from floods, landslides, and earthquakes. We will need a big army of heroes to do this on a massive scale in partnership with our town officials. We call on all Ilonggos particularly to help Panay and all of you to help the poor in the region where you come from. Let us not allow the Filipino to remain a victim in his country forever.

In this room are the natural leaders of an initiative that will raise the image of Filipinos from Third-World to one that many other countries will follow in order to confront and defeat poverty in their own respective homelands. It is in the hands of Filipinos privileged by wealth or talent to take leadership positions, but they can do so only if they have the heart of heroes.

It is only heroes who can rescue a failing nation and a suffering people. It is only heroes who will extend their power and resources to help others, beyond themselves and family. To love our family is a gift; to love the poor is grace. Caring for our family brings us closest to them; caring for the poor brings us closest to God. It is only the hero in you that I appeal to, to bring our people out of poverty and you nearest to God.

In the past, nations were built by young heroes in their teens because fighting for the motherland was their purpose in life. Their average life expectancy was short at thirty-five years old, war being their main business. Now our young are pressured with college, career, and family with little time to think about their country. Those who do are extraordinary.

So we call on those over fifty, who have fewer responsibilities, more resources, and longer life expectancy. Those at fifty today are at their prime, equivalent to a fifteen-year-old two centuries ago. It is to all of you that I make this appeal. Be a hero to the poor in our country.

Show the world that the eagle is not too old to fly. Use all your energy to lift our country out of poverty and our people out of shame. Make this your offering when Ateneo celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2009, in tune with its theme, “Building the Nation.” When we all do, our national hero and the greatest Atenean, Dr. Jose Rizal, will finally get his wish. And we would have been justified: With an Ateneo education comes great responsibility for God and country.


God bless the Philippines.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pulp Bits

Just a short one for the weekend. In researching for an upcoming entry, I came across a June 15, 2008 article by our erstwhile detractor, Fr. Tulabing. As expected, it is another hack and slash attempt to paint CFC and the IC in a bad light. What bothers me about it is the obvious slant of his topic, while proclaiming that he's researched "...on the matter through the internet and my consultations with some bishops and persons knowledgeable about the case". He still fails to make any reference to pertinent documents or at least be fair enough to present both sides of the issue. I find this almost hostile bias and unfairness incredibly disturbing and unbecoming of a man of the cloth. He should be leading the way in the search for truth, and not be swayed by the words of just one party, and it is quite obvious whose words he's almost repeating verbatim in his article.

That of course is just my opinion and I would welcome his take on the matter here.

Here are the 2 pages excerpted from the Negros Chronicle:



You may download the 2 pages as a pdf HERE.

UPDATE, July 13 article:

I missed this one, thanks to blogger TE for pointing it out, and his analysis of it.


Download the pdf HERE.

Here is TE's analysis:

(1) Fr. Tulabing is publicly advocating that CFC be dissolved. He is urging everyone to make a choice between GK and FFL. What does this make him? He probably doesn't know that CFC under the IC is the institution enjoying Vatican recognition; and that the recognition is based on the CFC Statutes approved by the Vatican. Further that GK is mentioned clearly in the approved statutes. The Vatican (not the CBCP nor the FFL Bishops) (through the recommendation of the Bishops) is the competent authority to judge the genuineness of an institution's charism. And the Vatican has not withdrawn it's recognition proving that CFC's charism is genuine and has not been lost, as being claimed by a disillusioned former leader. This is not rocket science. It does not take a lot of gray matter to find the proof. It's a no-brainer. Wake up Fr. Tulabing.

(2) He continues to sow confusion by claiming that FFL using the name CFC is not confusing but GK's would be. This is in flagrant disregard of the fact the GK, as one the 7 Pillars of CFC, has more right to use the name than FFL.

(3) Fr. Tulabing exhibits a complete disregard of facts already in the public domain that bear on this issue. He continues to show us that he arrived at his conclusions without weighing the merits of both sides and without giving the due attention to available evidence. Since it is inconceivable that a Vicar General would be this naive, I am forced to conclude that Fr. Tulabing is deliberately ignoring evidence and purposely refuses to engage in the mental deliberation needed to arrive at, what Bishop Claver calls, a prudent choice. In other words, Fr. Tulabing has thrown prudence out the window and is advocating a position which he knows to be either false or at least questionable. That, my friends, is blatant intellectual dishonesty.

(4) By writing the sentence "The leaders and members of CFC can do the same." immediately after his exhortation to read the Bishops' letter, memos and circulars, Fr. Tulabing clearly intends to give the impression to the public that CFC members and leaders have not read the documents he mentions. It further implies that CFC willfully refuses to listen to the Bishops. Now in his previous article he angrily reacted to the comments that came out in this blog. To me that proved that he does read this blog. Putting all that together, I conclude that Fr. Tulabing knows that CFC members and leaders have read the Bishops' documents he mentioned. A whole bunch of them are published in the various blog entries. So are the IC Statements which refer to the respective Bishops' documents. That leaves two choices: (a) Fr. Tulabing knows, chooses to ignore the truth, and writes deliberately to mislead the public into thinking CFC does not listen to the Bishops; and (b) Fr. Tulabing read them all but understood none and so could not consider them. I would not consider (b) as a viable alternative. So (a) it is. Unfortunately it shows Fr. Tulabing to be intellectually dishonest.

(5) Fr. Tulabing hopes we will not accuse him of causing division. He's right. He is not the cause. He is entitled to his own opinions. But since he also presents himself as a journalist (I suppose writing a column classifies him as one) he should subject himself to rigorous standards of reporting. The truth is that the cause of the so-called "split" was not some disobedience on the part of the IC. FFL came about because FAP created it. FAP did not have to resign. The IC practically begged him. FAP did not have to create FFL. You see - it was FAP who caused the "split". He did it in disobedience to the CFC statutes and to the CFC covenant ("I will relate in love and loyalty to the other families in CFC.."), which he was under at that time. FFL was born from a betrayal. If Fr. Tulabing has really done his research as he claims, then either he's playing dumb, fanatically loyal to FAP or gets his highs playing the provocateur.

(6) What recommendations from Cardinal Rylko is he talking about? The one about the ad was not a recommendation. It was an instruction. Do you think, given his penchant for intellectual dishonesty, that Fr. Tulabing will follow Cardinal Rylko's instruction not use our name for his pet organization?

My thoughts:

First of all, I don't understand why Fr. Tulabing is confused about GK's use of the name Couples for Christ. Maybe he is acting like an expert without truly knowing what he's talking about. He might want to consider studying up on CFC and its 7 pillars here.

He is basically calling for the disolution of CFC because it is not evangelizing? Please Father, apparently you are ALL seeing, would you please point out specific instances of that? Also, since you've given us such a rational solution, how do you propose the organization that is CFC move on after its members move to the FFL? Change its name to Gawad Kalinga?

I don't know what else to say. He is making claims that are not backed up with facts, and refusing to see anything but what is being fed to him by the Easter Group. I challenge Fr. Tulabing to come to this blog, look at all the documents here, and then make his judgement again.


The Negros Chronicle is published online by a fellow blogger, Jay Dejaresco, who apparently is a respected advocate of truth and fairness. It is my hope that he gives this issue a little attention, and at least give the CFC defenders a chance to air our side.

Goodness, the priests and members of the clergy are supposed to be our friends, leaders, and shepherds in our daily pursuit of Christian living and behavior. With friends like these, who needs enemies?

* * *

Do any of you notice the increased, insidious assault on GK by the Easter Group? I recently received another cyber bashing of GK by this mythical Salvador Macias using an old article by the Inquirer's Michael Tan. While preparing for an entry on it, I noticed the escalating aggression by the Easter Group against GK, in emails, in "sponsored" articles, and other forms of correspondence. It seems our rambuctious brothers in the FFL are going corporate on us. They have a competing product, and in order to have their product succeed, they must prove that theirs is better by disparaging the other one. Christian conduct? I think not.

There's something up, best be prepared my friends.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Questioning Faith

I have a couple of rules that I constantly abide by:

One, is to never fail to apologize. Whether it's to my wife for an unkind word said in anger or spite, or to a total stranger whose toes I've accidentally stepped on. I just feel that it is the decent thing to do, and decency is one of the things that separates us from animals. (Although I have to admit, I've caught my dog looking apologetic at times, for chewing up the morning paper.)

Another is to never question a man's faith. Oh, I'll question his motives, his background, his past actions, everything else...but never his faith. I believe that is between him and his God alone, and whatever reckoning he'll have at the pearly gates is his business, not mine. There are those who feel it is within their realm of expertise to do such things, I am just not one of them. And I will never be.

Several days ago, the now infamous "Macias letter" was forwarded to me, and it eventually found its way in our commentary, where it was systematically broken apart by our resident defenders. The funny thing was, I remember having a nagging thought in the back of my head about how the Easter Group will attempt to respond to TM's speech - especially since it obviously has nothing to do with them, and we all know how much they like to stick their noses in things they really have no business in.

So this Salvador Macias (who suspiciously sounds like someone whose initials are F.P.) who no one has ever heard of writes an email critical of Tony Meloto's Ateneo talk and sends it to the Easter Group, who then blasts it out to all who care to fish their emails out of their junkmail folder. Upon reading it, I thought to myself, "ah well there it is, at least we can now deal with it, IF it needs dealing." What I wasn't expecting was the supposed basis of this criticism: A confidential email from Caloy Palad to members of a private mailing list, which was forwarded to me soon after.

Now, we all have the freedom to disagree with anyone we choose to, much like I find myself disagreeing with Caloy's analysis of Meloto's speech. First, because I find it hard to judge a man on the basis of one speech. Second, well, because as I've stated above, I just don't believe I have any right to question a man's faith. We are all called to serve in our own capacity. If one feels that he best serves the Lord by being an authority on doctrinal issues, then so be it. I have not walked in Meloto's shoes nor have the power to look into his heart, I doubt anyone save those closest to him can. Until the day comes that I am able to, I will know the man by his works, and by his works I choose to respect him.

There is a well known story in the New Testament, where a woman poured expensive oils over Jesus' head. I think it is a fairly popular story that teaches us, among other things, to act with boldness, fervency and passion, instead of holding back or timidly going half way. I think this is the road that TM chose, and we've all seen its result.

I won't go into the Macias letter much, mostly because it's already been picked apart in the commentaries. I am quite surprised (or maybe not) at how calculated it was to evoke an emotional response, deftly mixing truth with lies. This entry will get too long if we went through each paragraph though, but I did compile the responses to make it easier for you all to get the gist of it.

Download the Salvador Macias letter and related comments HERE.

I did the same for Caloy's letter and the bloggers' responses to it.

Download Caloy Palad's email and related comments HERE.

However, I would like to state for the record that I have nothing against Caloy or his views. I know in my heart that he meant no harm to Tony, to GK, to CFC, and the IC. I am deeply saddened that his words were taken out of context and used maliciously by the Easter Group, who have shown a propensity for such behavior in the past. It seems they will jump at anything to further their causes, to hell with who they hurt along the way. That, my friends are not the actions of God fearing people, and that is the closest I've come to questioning anyone's faith.

I am requesting now for those who are doubting Caloy's loyalties to please stand down. He does not deserve it, and surely we are better Christians than that.

I am also taking the liberty of publishing his subsequent emails, condemning those who sought to sow discord among us through the unauthorized use of his words.

"Dear all:

"It has come to my attention that my [critique of] the speech of Tony Meloto in Ateneo has been forwarded [from a confidential mailing list] to the CFC-FFL of Frank Padilla, which has mass e-mailed my post to their supporters as well as to CFC members in order to defame the CFC-International Council.

"Now, because of the indiscretion of that mailing list member, the CFC-FFL is gleefully using MY GOOD NAME and is hiding behind MY REPUTATION in order to bring down Tony Meloto and the CFC International Council.

"As I took pains to point out in my original posting, it was NOT my intention to bring down Tony Meloto. Yes, he does have some theological errors IMHO, but these do not erase his dedication to service and his love for the poor. In pointing out certain weaknesses in his speech it was never my intention to denigrate his service, nor cast aspersions on his good intentions.

"I am ready to stand by my words and to face like a man whatever controversy comes my way, but it grieves me that my words are now being used in favor of a group (the CFC-FFL) that I have not ceased to warn people against."
Highlight mine.

That letter was followed by this:

Dear All:

These past few days have been especially painful for me. First, due to an indiscretion, my casual email regarding Tony Meloto has been transformed by Frank Padilla's minions into a weapon to unjustly tar, not just Tony Meloto, but also CFC-Global.

As I expected, this has caused an immense amount of anger, directed not at FFL, but personally at me. And the most unfair thing is, I have no way of defending myself. My mother has informed me that I have been personally denounced by members of Couples for Christ as an enemy and as a supporter of Frank Padilla. Nothing could be further from the truth! I am firmly convinced that this unjust and malicious action was done by FFL not only in order to discredit Tony Meloto, but also to discredit me, whom they have long known to be an uncompromising critic of Frank Padilla's cult following. Indeed, my mother had the humiliation of having to hear my email discussed in the highest council of the Handmaids of the Lord. God knows what other things have now been said behind my back. I feel that my back is against the wall, and I can expect no support now.



Carlos
An UPDATE:

Dear All:
I RETRACT the accusation that I had made against Jack Burgoyne, an accusation that I previously believed rested on strong evidence, but which, upon further reflection, was not sufficiently strong to warrant my public emails.
I have also requested http://defendingcfc.blogspot.com to erase the offending passage from my emails (which they had posted). And, for the benefit of those who may already have read the accusation, I have also added a comment to the said website enunciating the same retraction that I here publish.
I ask forgiveness of all who may have been hurt by my reactions. My own pain (and that of my mother) cannot justify what I have done. And I would like to thank the CFC members who have assured me of their prayers, and of their love and support.
I also ask you to pray for me. I am ashamed that my reaction to this Cross has not been Christian. I am sorry that I have not given good example in my reaction to calumny and the varied insults that came my family's way.
I also ask you to continue praying for my health.
Carlos

Brother Caloy, let it be known now that I am defending you and you have MY support. I know that your first email was posted here and commented on by the bloggers, yet I see that you have their respect, not only for the courage to state your opinions but for the backbone to stand by them. I am posting your responses here in the hopes that it reaches those who need to know the truth of the matter.

Speaking of which, that's something that our Easter Group brothers up to now have not been able to do. Need I remind them of their emails accusing our good bishops of "twiddling their thumbs" and "smoking pot", of which we haven't heard even a whisper of an apology to the clergy members in question?

Let me remind you all of an entry from back in February, where I quoted in full an email from Sis Norinna Palad, in which she prophetically corrected the FFL's Ado Paglinawan, who was planning another misuse of someone else's words:
In all of these, we have to remain vigilant especially when invoking the Holy Spirit, lest we grieve Him by making or passing on statements given by others, to which individuals are ASKED to commit or agree to, LEST they commit the "unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit".. This is plain and simple HERESY. We ALL have the power to call upon the Holy Spirit for guidance and discernment., in order to make wise and individual decisions. No person can say that he has the sole prerogative of speaking for the Holy Spirit. Not even the Pope makes that claim, and not even the Pope says that those who disagree with him can never be forgiven.

Let us all be guided by the Holy Spirit at all times.

Your sister in Christ,
Nori Palad
Let us not doubt where the Palads stand in this battle, because it is VERY clear to me. Their plight now paints a grim picture of how low the Easter Group will stoop to further their causes. I also enjoin the bloggers to leave comments to show your support for Caloy and his family.

* * *

Still related to the Macias and Palad emails, here is an article by Bishop Claver, a follow up to the first which was also posted here, and arguably a great response to the Macias email.

Here are the two pages excerpted from the CPBP Monitor:



I've also taken the article text and pasted it into Word to make it easier to read, you may download that with the two pages from the CBCP Monitor HERE.

One last thing:

Over a week ago, when I first received Salvador Macias' (which I'm almost 99% sure is a nom de guerre, unless Mr. Macias cares to step forward to stand up for his work) and Caloy's emails, my first response was to either post it as an update to the Ploughshares entry or start a new one around them, to get the word out and have the defenders start responding. Somehow though, something told me there was more to it. Lo and behold, as things developed, a few days later we see Caloy's response. Then a couple of days after that, his second email. I don't know what might have happened if I'd followed my first impulse, but all I know is, something stopped me. The whole thing just felt wrong, and I knew that Caloy Palad would not let this pass without a good fight.

Sometimes, we've gotta learn to really listen to that little voice with a big message that seems to come from the back of your head but is really emanating from the heart. I've heard it said that when the Lord speaks, it's not with a megaphone (Although, I'd like to think Typhoon Frank and the Marikina fiasco is an exception).

Those who truly hear the Lord are those who choose to LISTEN.

May God bless us all, have a great weekend my friends.

ps.

I changed the template again (and added a new sidebar section called "Site News"), I'd really appreciate some feedback. Is it easier to read now? Colors ok?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Pulp Fiction

Sometimes, one can get a bit frustrated at the far reaching effects of a well orchestrated misinformation campaign. Something that, sadly, the Easter Group is extremely competent at. We've just been asked by Tito Joe Tale to try and keep our emotions in check and to be careful about our defensive responses, so lets try and keep an open mind. I also don't want to give the Easter Group more issues to twist and have them say I'm now attacking a priest, which I'm not. In fact, I think the greater sin is not in inviting the clergy to a reasonable discourse, but in intentionally misleading them to achieve a questionable goal.

Sometime ago, I said that these rehashings of past issues by the Easter Group was not worth responding to anymore. I mean, they'll say it again, and we'll defend it again, and so on, ad infinitum, I GUESS. But in this latest "attack", I can't help but think that there is still much damage being done, much misinformation being spread, and that it is still hurting our brethen who are affected the most: Those on the ground spreading the good Word and the good work. So why should we not come to their aid? At some point, even our very own Multimedia Center felt the need to address the lies that are constantly being spun by the Easter Group in order to gain an audience and put down the organization they left.

An article by a Fr. Tulabing was published in the Negros Chronicle Sunday Edition and has been circulating in the commentaries for a while now, in fact eliciting several responses here, here, here, and finally here. It also seems the good father may have felt compelled to respond to our bloggers' reactions, esp. since one of them emailed the Negros Chronicle. There may have been just a single article planned, but an impromptu 2nd part was written by Fr. Tulabing and published last July 6, defending his views and claims. I say impromptu since, well, part 2 just seems....hurried.

You may download both parts HERE, but I'll be quoting and responding to some relevant portions.

Father Tulabing makes several claims in his article, specifically:

In part 1

"...Gawad-Kalinga has been over-emphasized, putting aside Family Evangelization, Spirituality, and Renewal."
Need we go into this again? It is a rehash of Frank Padilla's GK-3 paper, and has already been covered, discussed, attended to, and finally DEALT WITH. Please Father, if you have further, recent proof of this claim (other than what your FFL advisers have told you), come forward so it can be addressed.
"...reluctant founder of Couples for Christ Frank Padilla..."

"CFC-FFL has all the rights to use the name Couples for Christ because Frank Padilla is its founder and FFL is consistent with the vision-mission of the true and genuine Couples for Christ which has never veered away from its original purpose while remaining faithful and loyal to the Catholic Church authorities"
First off, it's been proven that Frank Padilla is NOT the founder of CFC. That's a done deal and this article in the CBCP states it in no uncertain terms. Also, using the term "reluctant founder" shows clearly where you are getting your information, as these are the exact same words the FFL use to refer to Frank Padilla.

Secondly, I hope you realize that your insinuation of "veering" are the words the FFL uses, if you are trying to make a case, then please show some tangible and documented proof. One can't just bring forward an FFL leader and say, "Here, take his word for it." I'd like to ask what you see that made you believe that CFC veered from its original charism? Do you also believe that all the CFC members in your parish are veering away now?

In part 2

Ironically the 2nd article starts with a quote from what I would guess is a CFC member, to which Fr. Tulabing responds,
"This kind of comment is surely missing the point."
To which I would most respectfully respond, surely Father, you are missing the truth. Have you seen the emails in this blog? The documents? How about the Playboy Bunnies' meeting minutes?

"So how can some leaders and members of couples for Christ Global GK..."
Now I might be nitpicking, but how badly edited must this be, to not only fail to capitalize, but to come up with a brand new term for CFC: couples for Christ Global GK? This is why I said part 2 seemed a little hurried. And no Father, I'm not making a big deal out of this. I just thought you should tell your newspaper's editors to pay closer attention. Yet, frankly, we'd appreciate it if you didn't corrupt the name any further. Thank you.

"...they try to poison the minds of their members about my purported “panaot” of Couples For Christ. And by the way, the Church is not expected to serve the interest of Couples for Christ. It should be the other way around: Couples for Christ should serve the interests of the Church."
Oho! Now we come to some strong words. Poison. I believe that is the gist of all our problems, tho not in the context in which you are using it. Also, yes, while Couples for Christ should be serving the interests of God, our priests have the moral responsibility to be well aware of what they are feeding their flock, lest they accidentally poison them.

"My intention really is to save Couples for Christ from utter destruction at the hands of the enemy."
Father, I really do not see any destruction going on here, other than the tearing apart of CFC by the Easter Group's continued attacks.

I also take it you don't believe these good men are doing a good enough job of saving us:







"Priests need to exercise authority over Couples For Christ in their parishes, after all it is within the realm of the priests’ duties to govern."
Agreed Father, it is also their job to show their flock the truth.

'The point is that there have been directives and guidelines, there have been dialogues and meetings to reconcile and check the errors, but the International Council of Couples For Christ-GK insisted on their mistakes."
Speaking of directives, guidelines, and dialogues, I'd like to remind you of Bishop Reyes' statement, made after the dialogue between the FFL and CFC. I quote:

"...Frank Padilla “will form the Couples for Christ for Family and Life” and “should start as a diocesan association, “then later can apply for recognition as a national association if it has branches in other dioceses and even later as an international association.”

I don't believe anybody in the Easter Group even as much as gave that order a second glance.


"All the members of CFC must be made aware of the existing problems within CFC."
To this, I heartily agree, and they should also all be made aware of what the FFL has been doing.

"The members should even protest about what their International Council is doing (disobeying the bishops).."
Actually Father, if you want to be more specific, it was the Elders Assembly who as a group discerned and decided not to follow the Bishops' recommendation. Must we define recommendation once again? Does this mean that since the FFL did not follow the orders of the Bishops after the dialogue, you believe the FFL members should protest as well?

"...the donations that they still receive from Pharmaceuticals manufacturing and distributing contraceptives. The Church still considers contraceptives anti-life, and Couples For Christ is supposed to be Pro-life."
A picture to refresh our memories:

Frank Padilla at the launching of Gawad Kalusugan, sponsored by Pfizer, Wyeth, and Unilab.

The statement alone is patently false, since that partnership with Pfizer had been rescinded this past May upon the instructions of Cardinal Rylko and was printed in a paid ad by the IC. Father, might I remind you that Frank Padilla was present and part of that partnership. Shouldn't some accountability fall on his shoulders too, even as he passes the blame while still claiming to be the founder? Also, if that was the case, why do you not question all the other religious organizations accepting donations from pharmas who distribute contraceptives? You may also want to ask Frank Padilla why he holds office in the establishment of a known anti-life politician.

"I like and I commend CFC-Foundation for Family and Life headed by Frank Padilla because they work very hard for the RESTORATION and the REFORMATION of Couples for Christ. May the other members follow your example."
Heaven forbid. I don't think the Supreme Court has enough space in their building for all the landscam cases that will arise from that. Ok, I'm joking, but seriously, if the examples being set by Frank and Co. in document forgery, accusing the Vatican of trying to save face, accusing Bishops of "twiddling their thumbs and smoking pot", were to be used as guideposts, I would be quite afraid of what would become of the FFL's members.

In all seriousness Fr. Tulabing, I think your words say it all: You "like" the FFL. What this is based on I don't know, but it comes across as unobjective. You like them, therefore you are pushing for them. Isn't that a tad unfair? In liking them, did you then overlook the questionable actions of the Easter Group? The documents, emails, the honest depiction of the events that led to the fateful split are all here for you to see and peruse. They've been made public for exactly that reason; so you can be fair to both sides. That's all we are asking. Give CFC a chance to make its case, a chance you've obviously given the FFL. Give us a chance to present proof, to show that we are sincere in our efforts to better ourselves. If we've somehow made a mistake in your eyes, then show us forgiveness by example. Your obvious bias for the FFL and your trumpeting their cause's repetitive and oft rehashed chants of veering and disobedience hurt people who care about you and what you say.

That is all.


* * *

Just for the record, and to finally set things right, the CBCP has acknowledged LNP's role (through Vic G and Fr. Schneider) as the founder of CFC. Here's the article in full, it's also linked in the Archived Documents section on the right column.

CFC-International Council to reinforce tie with RP bishops

MANILA, July 6, 2008--Couples for Christ-International Council (CFC-IC), has been seeking the support of Philippine Bishops to strengthen cooperation between them.

“CFC-IC has designed suggestions and recommendations on how to improve and strengthen the relationship between our shepherds [bishops] and CFC-IC so that together, we can fulfill our shared mission of spreading God’s will to all,” said Joe Tale, executive director of CFC-IC International Council, in a letter addressed to all the bishops of country, dated June 4.

Tale also said that CFC-IC is gearing up for a new springtime of its evangelization and values formation mission.

“We have lined up Christian life and community values programs for 62,000 settlers along the railroad tracks now recoated in Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Taguig, and take care of OFW’s and their families left behind in the Philippines,” Tale said.

CFC-IC also asked the bishops to pray for CFC-IC that its resolution of the conflict that has embroiled CFC-IC community may grow in positive manner.

CFC is a lay Catholic group established in 1981 by Fr. Herb Schneider, SJ and Vic Gutierrez. CFC got split from its original group “Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon Community” in 1993.

Last year, CFC got split further into two--CFC-Foundation for Family and Life (CFC-FFL), which is headed by Frank Padilla, and the CFC-International Council (CFC-IC), which works with Tony Meloto and Gawad Kalinga, the social arm of CFC-IC that builds low-cost houses for the poor across the country.

Last month, both the groups were battling each other for the use of the CFC name after the Securities and Exchange Commission lifted the 2003 revocation order on the use of the name Couples for Christ Foundation Inc.

Meloto and Padilla, both founding members of one of the country’s biggest Catholic lay group, stepped down from the board of CFC last year over debates on the group’s direction.

CFC-FFL and CFC-IC are trying to win the support of Philippine bishops and trying to show their allegiance to Church hierarchy in the country. (Santosh Digal)

post script:

I apologize about the typos and other errors, I've edited what I found. As you may have noticed, this was a late night entry because I was trying to make the Feedburner blast at 9am, so coffee and lack of sleep is not good for spelling and getting some facts straight, hehe. If you catch anymore please do let me know.