Knights of Rizal expels 1 member, suspends Roland David, Paul Verzosa

From left, Eddie Limon, Roland David, and Paul Verzosa

From left, Eddie Limon, Roland David, and Paul Verzosa

By Cristina DC Pastor

Once upon a time there was a National Hero named Jose Rizal whose writings inspired a revolution against the colonizing power, Spain. More than a century later, Filipinos vowing to “honor and uphold” his nationalist ideals created the Order of the Knights of Rizal (KOR) with chapters all across the globe.

In New York, the KOR was recently thrown into turmoil over accusations of stolen funds and cronyism as two factions battled for control. One member, Eddie Limon, was expelled, and two others, Roland David and Paul Verzosa, were suspended for one year following an April 16, 2018 resolution issued by the office of the KOR Supreme Council, the highest rank, Sir Reynato Puno. The three men belonged to a faction that attempted to take control of KOR. The incumbent Regional Commander in the U.S., Francis Sison, was ordered “strictly admonished and seriously reprimanded.”

According to a resolution obtained by The FilAm, on December 3, 2017, Limon submitted a resolution demanding the replacement of Sison as Regional Commander. The resolution showed it was “electronically signed” by 28 KOR members.

An investigation by the Committee of Three created by Puno — with chairman Lamberto Nanquil, Pablo Trillana III, and Frisco San Juan Jr. – showed that of the 28, four members denied their signatures and 14 declined to comment on the authenticity of their signatures. Only 10 members, led by Limon, David and Verzosa, acknowledged their signatures.

Those who denied their signatures were Jun Hornilla, Edward Usita, Ray Banta, and Roger Alama.

KOR members, led by Regional Commander Francis Sison (front, center), marching at a Philippine Independence Day Parade in New Jersey

KOR members, led by Regional Commander Francis Sison (front, center), marching at a Philippine Independence Day Parade in New Jersey

The committee ruled the resolution was “not the collective decision of the 28 members but only of a minority.” More disturbing, the decision argued, was that the resolution was authored by Limon, a ranking KOR member and former Trustee, who knew it to be a “fabrication” and “misrepresentation.”

“Sir Limon must therefore be held accountable for this grievous misbehavior,” says the committee report.

The Limon resolution contained 33 allegations.

Among the complaints was that KOR, under Sison, “capriciously” gave out awards to cronies in exchange for favors and financial contributions. It also called attention to photographs of Sison “unbecoming of KOR.” Said photos supposedly showed Sison “with his tongue out, shirtless photos and posting laced with cuss words in Filipino.”

David submitted his own separate complaint against Sison, demanding an accounting of Regional Assembly Funds. Specifically, he questioned an expense of “$33,000 for the Renaissance Hotel,” and claimed a $20,000 donation he (David) had made to KOR. The committee report said the hotel cost was within budget, and there was “no proof that a donation was made.”

The committee castigated Limon and company for claiming that KOR member Juan Castro made a donation of P2 million in exchange for being elevated to the position of KGCR or Knight of the Grand Cross of Rizal, a high rank equal to a Supreme Commander. It said the donation was a seed money for the building of a KOR Museum that will house a Rizaliana Collection of paintings, books and artifacts of “invaluable historical and cultural worth.”

“There was no deception of the public,” said the committee. “Simply and clearly, it was an unmistakable commitment toward the creation of a KOR Museum.”

The committee dismissed charges of incompetence, nepotism, arrogance, and abuse of position against Sison as reasons to replace him.

When reached by The FilAm, Sison said he felt vindicated. “Justice is served.”

“Truth does not have to borrow garments from falsehood,” said the committee, borrowing a line from “Noli Me Tangere” and trying to make a point about Rizal’s adherence to the truth.

The FilAm sent emails to David and Verzosa requesting comments. Limon is preparing a statement. We will post it as soon as it becomes available.

© The FilAm 2018

Brown and gold are the KOR colors.

Brown and gold are the KOR colors.



One Comment

  1. I was shocked to see this in a newspaper. This is an Internal Matter that should not be published publicly. Whoever is the one who let this happened if he’s a Knight of Rizal Member do not have the real concern about the organization. It’s not even sent to all Knights of Rizal member and then suddenly it was publicly displayed.

    If you will read the caption people will think the way it is written but if you read the memo it’s not.

    Non Omnis Moriar (Hindi makakalimutan ng marami kung sino man ang nagpalagay nito sa inyong pahayagan)

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