Candidate Albert Diala is accusing PIDCI of hiding membership list

red line

red line

At last year’s Independence Day Parade on Madison Avenue.  Photo by Marian Reyes

At last year’s Independence Day Parade on Madison Avenue. Photo by Marian Reyes

By Cristina DC Pastor

Candidate for PIDCI president Albert Diala is accusing the parade organizing group of blocking access to a list of registered member organizations.

“I insist to have a copy,” said Diala, 62, an accountant at Ford Motor Co., who spoke to The FilAm. “We don’t know how many members there are, we don’t know what hocus-pocus is going on.”

The list of registered organizations will determine what groups the candidates will reach out to for their campaign. Diala is running for president of the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc., which organizes the annual parade on Madison Avenue, touted as the largest outside of the Philippines. The two other candidates are Angie Molina and Prospero Lim. All three are members of the PIDCI board and are said to be good friends.

Lim, a doctor from Staten Island, is believed to be the favored candidate by outgoing President Fe Martinez, who has served four terms.

Election of officers is slated for October. PIDCI elections are perpetually riddled with controversy, ranging from charges of vote rigging to busing proxy supporters to lack of transparency in its finances.

In a recent PIDCI meeting, Diala said he raised the issue and was told the list of organizations is being withheld because some candidates are cold-calling the organizations’ leaders to campaign even at unholy hours. He thought it was a lame excuse.

“I don’t believe them,” he said. He believes the candidates are being denied access to the list to favor Martinez’s candidate.

Candidates Prospero Lim, Angie Molina

Candidates Prospero Lim, Angie Molina

The FilAm reached out to PIDCI President Fe Martinez and Treasurer Violet McGough, who according to Diala, are in possession of the list of registered organizations.

Instead, PIDCI General Counsel Manuel Quintal issued this statement to The FilAm:

“The Board has adopted a policy of not giving the list of member organizations and their contact information to candidates. The decision to adopt such a policy was not made arbitrarily, but rather upon balancing of the personal interests of candidates and the privacy rights of member organizations and their officers. It was not intended to favor or disfavor any particular candidate then, now, and in the future.

“The Board stopped providing the list of members to candidates after officers of member organizations complained of unsolicited calls and mails from candidates and their overzealous campaigners. Worst, the lists were given to business organizations and other so-called not-for profit organizations to market their products to PIDCI member organizations.”

Long-time PIDCI members interviewed by The FilAm said withholding the list of organizations is “anomalous” and does not promote transparency.

The membership list of the previous year should be the same as this year, granted all organizations renewed their membership by paying the annual dues of $35 by September 1. “All candidates should know who are on that list so they know which organizations to target in their campaign and who are supposed to vote,” said one organization president.

He said PIDCI has been resorting to its “old trick” of withholding information. “It is not a confidential list.”

Although he is a long-standing member of the board, Diala maintained directors like him had no access to the list. “Only the president and the treasurer have access to that list,” he said.

Can he theoretically request the Philippine Consulate, which is the adviser to PIDCI, to step in? Diala said he could, but would reserve that as his last option.

His campaign on track, Diala said he is inviting the public to a Meet the Candidates forum and fundraiser on August 23 at the Knights of Columbus at 49-18 Queens Blvd. in Queens from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. There, he will introduce the seven people who will be his candidates for board members. A $45 ‘donation’ will be collected at the gate.

red line

Leave a Reply