PACSI New Management Committee Locked Out by Benjie de Ubago

The Philippine Australian Community Services Inc. (PACSI) proceeded with its scheduled elections last Friday, 9 August 2013. Voted in to sit on the management committee were: Natividad Millarez, President; Gilda Balasoto, 1st Vice President; Rebecca Cameron, 2nd Vice President; Evelyn Alejandro, Secretary; Efren Maalat, Treasurer and Maria Teresa Cuevas as PRO. Other members of the management committee include: Maria Buluran, Alfredo Pedrosa, Marie Bandayrel and Jennifer Tapao.

This election was a continuance from the suspended elections last April 20.  The special general meeting of 5 July decided on the August 9 election date which was chosen and approved by the members of PACSI.

Ms. Julie Nuñez, now the immediate past president was present at the start of the election but called the meeting “illegal” and left in dismay. Ms. Nuñez unable to accept defeat, has written to the Department of Fair Trading contesting the validity of the newly-elected management committee and later padlocked the office to stop members, workers and volunteers from entering the premises. The note on the door read “Closed until further notice.”

Newly elected, Millarez was shocked to see the doors padlocked on Monday morning and reported it to the police, who in turn phoned Ms. Nuñez ordering her to unlock the premises.

Ms. Nuñez also faces unfair dismissal charges with Fair Work for sacking the three volunteer workers without providing any reason except: “The Management committee is reviewing the work conditions, policies and office procedures to improve our management and administration of the organization so that we can best serve the needs of newly arrived Filipino migrants in the community.” There are also allegations that Mr. Chris Pilao, a member of the past management committee was reported to have said:  “just close the (PACSI) office.” [Millarez also said that Pilao covered his ears with both hands saying “I will not listen.”]

When Nuñez could not run for another term, she tried to extend the term of office from four years to six years. When she failed to have the body approve the motion, she went on a cleaning spree expelling two of the management committee members, Naty Millarez and Teresita Indolos for “persistently and willfully acting in a manner prejudicial to the interest of the association.” However, letters to both Millarez and Indolos do not state their specific sins for expulsion.

Nuñez had invited the three social workers, Nelia Sumcad, Leah Glasson and Lina Cabaero to apply for a position. The letter states: “In view of the new funding from DIAC SGP Grant 2013-2014, the PACSI management committee is inviting you to apply for the full time position of a community worker.” As the current position is a job share between the three workers, the above-mentioned statement did not specify whether it was a newly-created position or that their existing positions would be made redundant. It also failed to clarify what position they were applying for and failed to provide a reason for their sudden termination which then becomes an unfair dismissal issue.

The new management committee looks forward to embracing the challenges ahead although there is no doubt there will be a few more twists and surprises in store for them. They also hope to overturn the bad decisions made by the past management committee.

“It is now time to move on and get on with our work” said president-elect Naty Millarez. “It is what PACSI is all about. We’re here to serve the Filipino community as we have in the last 25 years,” she adds.

When contacted, Ms. Nuñez refused to make any comment but hinted that there are big things to come which she said could not yet be revealed.

Updated: 09/01/2013 — 20:43:50