May 29, 2004  (STAR) By Col (Ret) Frank B. Quesada, Former Senate Committee Secretary, Veterans and Military Pensions; Associate, PMA ‘44  -  General Statement:  On the basic premise of how the present official lobby of the Fil-Am Veterans Equity Act will succeed or fail – depends on many factors. Most of the factors partake the nature of cause and effect, etc.

The most serious facing this lobby involved either in earnest and/or those who are mere “opportunistic entrepreneurs” who are “impostors” for “fame and/or fortune” at the expense of the veterans. Veterans identify them as the peacetime “Makapilis” that have turn traitors to the veteran’s cause.

The next factor is logistics.

The rest is unity, speaking with one voice and singing only one song. And the other factor is vulnerability of most veterans to deceit and double-talk by interlopers without legal standing in the lobby.

Why are vets victimized?

It is simply due to lack of honest and precise communication and sincere dialogue among them, likewise, the sluggishness of veterans who are descendants of indolent “Juan Tamad” who are merely laying down and waiting for the fruit to ripen and to fall from the tree.

In large measure, inadequacy of the lobby to maintain two-way dialogue to and from the lobbyists to tell the veterans what is actually going on in Washington D.C. breeds debauchery. And breeds corruption by destructive meddlers who are ignorant of the legislative process.

Veterans are mostly subsisting under poverty [ those who can hardly afford to call or write Washington D.C. for developments ] are the hapless victims. And even are the laughing stock for being dull and bemused under manipulation by intruders in the official lobby.

These problems and the resultant tension have grown even more seriously because of a divided population of veterans. Manipulators have pitted them against each other (those who are residing here in the U.S. and those in the Philippines precluded from laws passed by the U.S. Congress.)

Quo Vadis - Equity ?

The specter of failure haunts the lobby as the enumerated factors increase. The propensity of veterans in merely sitting on their hands and waiting for someone to sell them baloney - have driven them to be easy victims of glib-tongue fast buck operators posing as a self-appointed advocate at large seeking publicity.

The official lobby with so many fingers on the pie, have become a muddled community pizza, where the corrupt and thrives quite well, with help of irresponsible media who merely want to sell space with negative contents.

The veteran’s cause - truly belongs to the veterans, and not to manipulators. Let there be no mistakes about that !

But if the veterans merely sit on their hands - those opportunist entrepreneurs will always take advantage of them. If the veterans do not stop the manipulators and do not oppose them - they are only the ones to blame for their own timidity.

Graft and corruption of the veterans cause [ the lobby of the equity bill ] is a major cause of dissipation of the lobby’s integrity and funds from tight pockets of veterans.

The phenomenon itself is traceable to: the veteran’s community whose nonchalant attitude prevails, and to the immorality of the manipulators who tax veterans.

It is therefore not uncommon to see that there are individuals with bad and dreadful intentions to amass money by dubious means. and/or fill their bloated ego. Such vandalism and profanation will always remain as long as there are gullible fools and cooperative media selling space at the expense of the veteran’s cause.

What is worse is that it has created a bad image for the veterans in particular and the whole Filipino community in general, not to leave out the negative impression of the officialdom and Congress. And the disturbing cupidity of some powerful members of Congress who want to hoard, and keep the veteran’s money earned for vet’s active military service - for their own pork and perks.

The lobby will always be under prevalence of waste of time, money and effort largely as the shelter of graft corruption in the lobby itself. It boils down to just one thing – MONEY. The money that belongs to veterans is there, but is hoarded by avid legislators for their own political advantage.

Without the much-needed discipline in the lobby - it will continue to send the message to Congress that as long as the veterans are not united, and are misrepresented by ludicrous entrepreneurs - confusion reigns that leads to non-fulfillment under a great deal of community skepticism will linger on, unless the shameless corruptors are made to account for their misdeeds.

Real Solution

The actual remedy here is a development of a new and fresh lobby, with an effective system of lobbying, with value on its integrity, and the close relationship with the legislators, the veterans and their leaders. Not to leave out the professionalism of the lobbyist duly mandated to secure the success of passage of HR-677 and S-68.

It would require rationality, efficiency, and diminution of bureaucracy and time wasted. The Embassy simply have to dialogue with the preponderant vet majority and NOT with the glib-tongued impostors that has influence over the Embassy people.

Trash the Opposition

The traditional thinking and persistence of outmoded values draws back the lobby. Those who merely borrow the veterans cause for their personal aggrandizement [personal fame] and/or fortune - are reflective of sacrosanct. Are vestiges of infernal reasoning. Or displaced leadership with unrealistic ambitions. Are ill-wishers in the Fil-Am community. The veterans has been a “whipping boy” by impostors seeking cheap fame.

These opportunists elements exist under the crop of “know-it-all” and “do-it-all” parasite gravitating toward the poor veterans who are without much resources. They are those who cherish the memory of their access to fast buck regardless of what the source is, nor the means of securing the loot.

Therefore - a stronger approach by the lobby against hardcore exploiters is imperative. And the adventurists who are inveterate despoilers - must be taken to task.

On the Part of the Veterans

It is high time and opportune instance for veterans and their leaders to communicate with each other and finally oppose corruptors, for there is no room for laggards in the lobby. There are also no space for the “ningas cogons” laden with bureaucratic red tape that stunts the lobby.

The lobby cannot afford to have archaic debilitating shenanigans in veteran organizations. Complacency should be eliminated. Unwholesome relationships in the associations adversely affect the lobby that results to disunity.

Loyalty to the cause and the lobby is foremost. There is no substitute for it.

Hardcore Subversives

There exist those who have the wrong approach to the freedom they enjoy here in the U.S. Freedom without responsibility misleads and resorts to violence.

Peaceful demonstrations and protests are handy tools of intelligent members of society - not negative activism. Yes, it appears we have them in our midst as thorns on our side. If they do not like the face of the one on top - they will resort to chaos and violence or form their own group. They continue to “bore from within” as dregs in modern society where they don’t fit in.

Lastly, the Embassy people must perform its task and responsibility mandated by their oaths of office, and under the Constitution, to protect the veterans as their constituents regardless of residence and nationality.

Remember – it is the veterans that has the vested right, interests and sole claim for their wartime-eared benefits. No one else. Not even the RP government that is merely a conduit for veterans.

Certainly - there is no one to blame the failure in the end but the recreants. Wake up - veterans ! The sunsets that lengthens our shadows in the last journey haunts all of us is inevitable.

In our failure, there’s nothing to look backward with pride, in the same token as there’s nothing to look forward with hope. (R. Frost).

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Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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