2020-11-30

What are they trying to hide?

I was an active member of the board of Ateneo Alumni Australia when I was accused of leaking out information on what happened during the July 2013 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the association. A member of the board even said that “it was like ‘insider trading’.” REALLY? First of all, there were no stocks being traded and secondly, there was no financial gain in what was reported in the newspaper. I happened to be wearing two hats at the time — as a member of the board and as a journalist and that was precisely the reason why I posted in the website of Philippine Sentinel what happened during the AGM. To this day, the association secretary never bothered to write the minutes of that particular meeting — neither were such minutes printed nor distributed during the 2014 AGM. It was an outright distortion of standard procedures during AGMs. They were obviously trying to hide something.

The major issue was the withdrawal of Ateneo Alumni Australia from the Philippine Community Council of NSW. There was an overwhelming decision by the general membership to withdraw Ateneo’s membership from PCC. What was alarming was the continuous attendance of Alric Bulseco in the board meetings of PCC, notwithstanding the withdrawal of Ateneo’s membership. His obvious reason was that no formal letter has yet been written by the incumbent president. Finally, the letter was sent to then PCC president Elsa Collado on October 10, 2013, more than three months after the decision was made. But, even with Ateneo’s formal withdrawal, Bulseco continued attending PCC board meetings. Somehow, he found justification in his attendance by shifting his representation from Ateneo to another PCC affiliate.

But even at PCC, some members of the board appear to be very secretive on what happens during their monthly meetings. What are they trying to hide?

The PCC board is very much lacking in transparency, which incidentally was what incumbent president Jun Relunia promised when he was campaigning to be president. Somehow, information continues to leak out to Philippine Sentinel and members of the PCC board accuse one another of being the rat who squealed. Unfortunately, other Philippine newspapers  do not appear to have the guts to publish the truth of what is happening in the so-called ‘peak body’. What are they trying to hide? The Filipino community has the right to know.

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Having graduated from Ateneo de Manila Grade School, High School, College and Graduate School, I am among the very few bona fide alumni of Ateneo de Manila University currently residing in Australia. I happen to be one of the founding directors of the Ateneo Alumni Australia (AAA) and nobody can take that away from me. Other members are merely from the Law School, Graduate School or one of the other provincial colleges of the Jesuit institution. Very few had the benefit of starting from elementary and high school. Some even dropped out for failure in academic requirements. Many of the members simply studied for a few semesters and after paying a membership fee of $10 were allowed to vote.

While I have not officially resigned my membership from AAA, I have — out of disgust — chosen to keep my distance from current activities of the AAA.

Prior to the 2014 AGM, Bulseco successfully lobbied for Ateneo’s re-entry into PCC. Of course, he relied heavily on the vote of new members whom he recruited for that purpose. Unfortunately, many of those new members were not aware of his real intentions and his only justification was the motto of being ‘Men for Others.’ Ironically, his legitimate spouse and ex-wife mentioned in the AAA group email that he is truly a ‘man for others’, obviously referring to his many ex-marital girlfriends.

It must be remembered that Ateneo is an educational institution and politics has no place in such an organisation. I believe that Ateneo should remain apolitical.

Unfortunately, those members who voted in favour of membership in PCC did not know that Bulseco’s aim was for his own personal aggrandizement.

Next month, PCC will have its next AGM and election of new officers. It is high time that there is a complete overhaul in its leadership. There is no doubt that Bulseco will again run as VP-External or at least a member of the board. He has started lobbying. The PCC affiliates must think again if they want a respectable ‘peak body’ and the support of media. —  Dino Crescini