When Philippine Tribune talked with Ms Tess Lopez, she declared that the $300,000 owed to her by the Filipino Multi-Purpose Centre (MPC) has not yet been paid. Her money was supposed to have been returned on September 28, 2008. Attempts to contact the managers of MPC proved futile until she finally caught up with MPC solicitor Ed Yunon. According to Ms Lopez, Mr. Yunon told her “Hiyang-hiya na nga ako.” (I am deeply embarrassed.)
Priest washes hands
Ms Lopez has sought the assistance of Fr. Renato Paras who was present during the signing of the loan agreement. It was through the intercession of the good priest that she agreed to extend the loan. However, Fr. Paras told her that the matter is no longer within his control. It is doubtful that the priest was a party to the loan agreement. It would appear that St. Aidan’s Parish is not allowed by the church to act as guarantor; neither does it have the capacity to repay the loan.
Fr. Paras is the original Settlor of the Trust Deed that created the Filipino MPC or the Philippine Australia Community Foundation, Inc. He was at that time the Filipino Chaplain under the Diocese of Parramatta.
There is no indication that he was consulted prior to the sale of the Rooty Hill property which todate has remained unpaid by the buyer. The financial problems of MPC appear to have stemmed from their purchase of another property in Schofields at a cost of over $1 million. The Schofields land measures 5.5 acres. On it sits a very old 3-bedroom house previously occupied by its Chinese owners. Blacktown City Council has declared the Schofields property to be in a “high risk flood zone.” On that basis, it is doubtful that any development application would be approved.
Tess Lopez told Philippine Tribune that she intended to use the money for travel expenses during a family holiday that is scheduled within the coming weeks. She added that the bulk of her money is on time deposit and could not be touched. Any unscheduled withdrawal would be subject to heavy penalties in terms of lost interest, Ms. Lopez concluded.
Based on a Statement of Receipts and Payments released by MPC Secretary/Treasurer Dads Morales, the Philippine Australian Community Foundation, Inc. commenced solicitation activities way back in 1990. That was more than 18 years ago but so far, completion of the MPC has remained a dream.