JUNE 2017

By Mariano “Anong” Santos
PINOY Editor/Publisher


....."Rizal: 'I’m out of here!'”

...continued from home page


left pic:The officers of the Philippine Consulate and the Knights of Rizal will do a floral offering 9 am, June 19 at the Rizal Monument at Margate Park in Chicago’s North Side.

The tenant was previously evicted by the Archdiocese of Chicago for back rents that amounted to close to a hundred thousand dollars. The tenant is a practical nursing school wherein Crisostomo sits as one of its directors. There were FACGC directors who had serious concerns about granting a lease to this school. Carmen Estacio, who is a close friend of Crisostomo, was one of the most vocal-- warning him about his conflict of interests.

Crisostomo turned a deaf ear to all these and true enough, after two years, the FACGC was left with uncollected $60,000 unpaid rent plus the school’s chattels and trash were left at the Center for the FACGC to get rid of.

Volunteerism at its best

There is more. Days after the super typhoon of Haiyan, the area Filipino Americans, especially the youth, were fired up to help. Volunteerism manifested itself at its best.

There was an instant mobilization getting a wide support from the mainline community. Relief goods poured abundantly. There were at least $20,000 donations collected. The FACGC HQ was the center of the operation. Curiously enough, Crisostomo and his fellow officers were visible in the many days that the relief campaign was done BUT they qualified that they are not really behind the project. Is that not a missed opportunity for the council to lead?

There were hints that the FACGC’s non-profit status was not active. But then again, they were aware of the collection of the funds. They were also aware that much of the relief goods were not reaching the typhoon victims. Hardworking journalist Joseph Lariosa reported in an investigative story that the funds were turned over to a con artist who callously admitted using some of the funds to see a Pacquiao bout in Las Vegas. In September of 2015, Crisostomo, as always, posed for the camera during a FACGC anniversary celebration giving an award to one of the organizers of this questionable relief operation. Is this not a travesty or what?

Locked up

It was also under Crisostomo’s watch that the council got entangled with the Pasamba caregiving fraud investigation leading to the suspension of its resident-law counsel’s law license. At least, Alfonso Bascos has the decency to resign from the board. With full authorization of Crisostomo last February, he let his executive director summarily lock up Bascos’ law office and embargoed its contents including sensitive law documents of his clients. You might not like Alfonso Bascos but what ever happened to due process that everyone is entitled to? To no surprise of anyone, Bascos sued Crisostomo’s board for relief.

This is where the Knights of Rizal can relate with the latest turmoil brewing at the FACGC HQ. Under the nose of Crisostomo, his usurper-in-chief/executive director, closed the Jose Rizal Library and Museum on a short notice despite the fact that the KOR is just one of the six remaining organizations still affiliated with the FACGC at that time last February. No KOR can now freely enter the center, as it was before, because Crisostomo’s executive director changed the locks and holds on to all of the keys.

She is quick to dispatch the Chicago police if you try to enter—this with the apparent blessings of her financier—Dr. Crisostomo. The vain Dr. Crisostomo is not too shy to beg for medals and awards from the Knights of Rizal—with senior members of his KOR Chicago Chapter questioning his manipulation to secure these commendations considering his dismal management and leadership in the FACGC.

Additionally, Nellie Dy, widow of KOR member, endowed $3000 for the replacement or improvement of the Rizal bust to memorialize her husband—that money was diverted and the Dy memorial was never put up or recognized.

Last Dec. 30, the KOR failed to hold the usual death anniversary commemoration of Jose Rizal at the FACGC HQ because of the Center’s long neglected and broken furnace and an inadequate electrical circuitry left the building as a candidate for condemnation by the City’s building inspectors. The KOR marked the event at Seafood City instead!

Bad to worse

The situation at the FACGC HQ has gotten from bad to worse. For a while, a solution seemed to be at hand. Jun Joaquin, lawyer for Crisostomo, disclosed that Dr. Rufino Crisostomo heeded the April 22nd resolution of the FACGC board of directors for him to resign. Atty. Joaquin said that his client revealed that he is tired and very sick and just wanted to leave the problems at the FACGC. Glenn, his son from California, came suddenly to visit him to check on his dad’s physical condition. On May 17, Crisostomo talked to me on the phone while he was on his way to the hospital accompanied by his son. He confirmed his resignation from the board.

Then on Friday, May 19, I received a report that Crisostomo, his executive director and members of the community like Dr. Virgilio Jonson, Former FACGC president Alex Gonzales and Chicago Historical Society, Estrella Alemar met at the besieged Center at 1332 W. Irving Park. Seemingly, Dr. Crisostomo was persuaded to recant.

“I supposed the crafty Elaine Lehman mesmerized them with her ability to secure a huge grant—same suspicious claims she presented to us in January, allowing herself to worm inside the Center and hold hostage everything we worked for,” said a top officer of the FACGC. Meanwhile, two more lawsuits were filed vs. the unholy duo of Crisostomo and Lehman.

In view of all these, is it a joke if Rizal packed up and walked away? For us, reason and decency dictate that we demand from Crisostomo and Lehman to cease and desist from associating the name, Dr. Jose P. Rizal, from their dark modus operandi. That is one of the best ways to honor Dr. Rizal as his 156th birthday is celebrated on June 19.




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