Friends of Rene Ballenas ‘shocked’ over burglary charges

Team United standard bearer Rene Ballenas

Close friends of Rene Ballenas were stunned over allegations the community leader was arrested for stealing $7,000 worth of goods from a cancer charity organization in Manhattan.

“Beyond shocked,” said a friend who campaigned for Ballenas when he ran for the presidency of the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc., which organizes the annual Philippine Day Parade on Madison Avenue. Ballenas lost to Fe Martinez, a retired nurse, 157-62, but vowed to introduce reforms in Pidci, threatening to launch a breakaway bloc under his Team United party.

Press reports say Ballenas, 50, is charged with grand larceny and burglary, according to a criminal complaint by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. He is accused of “taking more than $7,000 worth of valuables from the Children’s Cancer and Blood Foundation offices on East 38th Street,” according to NBC New York. “A worker there told police she saw surveillance video of Ballenas going into locked rooms and storage areas that belonged to the charity when the office was closed. The complaint said he stole iPads, a purse, shirts, printer equipment and bottles of wine.”

Another friend also declining to give his name told The FilAm: “What I know is he wants to do a better job than the current PIDCI leadership that’s why he formed Maharlika Foundation. He wants to put Pinoys to work on projects and give the younger generations a chance.”

The NBC report said Ballenas “admitted to detectives he had been stealing from the foundation for several months.” The report alleged the stolen goods were sent home to the Philippines. At press time, Ballenas remains behind bars on $10,000 bail. Repeated emails to Ballenas’ wife Cynthia were unanswered.

On his Facebook page, Ballenas, who is from Negros Occidental, identified the New York Presbyterian Hospital as his employer. The NBC report said he is a clerical worker at the hospital which shares the same building with the foundation.

Other friends sought for this interview declined comment, describing Ballenas as a “friendly” person. — Cristina DC Pastor


  1. M. Matthews wrote:

    Yes, indeed, a very shocking news about a Filipino American community leader getting arrest due allegation of theft.

  2. Jack wrote:

    A Filipino stealing. What a shocker. Always looking for the opportunity for corruption. This guy is an embarrassment, and stealing from a charity? He should be hanged!

  3. unknown wrote:

    I know Rene Ballenas. He is not that kind of person, but if it is true that he did this then, I’m very disappointed at him. I do believe that someone set him up though.

  4. […] Friends of Rene Ballenas ‘shocked’ over burglary charges […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: