Last month, the Toronto-based Balita lost a defamation suit brought against it by Senator Tobias Enverga, Jr. (http://www.philippinecanadiannews.com/uncategorized/senator-enverga-wins-defamation-suit-against-balita/) which is now under appeal. The long-simmering case has divided the community and even spawned a movement to boycott the paper founded by the late Ruben Cusipag and arguably one of Canada’s longest surviving Filipino newspaper.
Our quest for truth still in full speed
By Tess Cusipag
Editor & Publisher
The last issue’s cover of Balita created a lot of stir to some and we received a lot of phone calls, emails, facebook postings of support, for which I am really thankful.
The more reason that we should not let a setback slow us down.
You understand correctly that, all along, in this case, we are fighting for accountability and transparency from those who want to exalt themselves undeservedly at the expense of our kababayan.
Somehow, if you promised to raise funds for the benefit of our people, and asked for the community’s help, it is to be expected that you account for it after.
Failing that, or if those proceeds were diverted to something else, that is not right. It is outright fraud- the wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in a financial or personal gain. That is what we are fighting for on behalf of our community.
I am not at all discouraged because I know we told and published only the truth. Now it is up to people to clear their conscience.
Some rationalize the different reasons why there are people who don’t give a damn with accountability in dealing with community funds.
For some, it is obvious that they simply think they can get away with it. Some just do not understand the moral responsibilities that go with community money they volunteer to handle.
It is not rocket science at all. You don’t have to be an accountant to do it. It is just like balancing your own cheque book. You are not handling millions. What could be there that some people cannot explain or refuse to explain?
A simple and proper accounting can deliver a report in a jiffy, unless there is some hanky panky going on. All we ask is to clear it..to be accountable, to be transparent… what is wrong with that?
We do not create issues, we do not create stories, and all of them are backed with evidence and documents. There were unanswered questions, why? Because there were monies missing that some concerned people wanted to be accounted for, it is for this that we can’t just turn the other way.
The last thing we want is to have enemies in our old age, but circumstances call for it, make it unavoidable for people to be hostile. We have to fight for our integrity and credibility, and I thank God that lots of friends and community leaders are behind us. Some even want to go as far as organizing a rally to dramatize our points.
Our enemies naturally want Balita to close down, but I cannot let that happen.
As Publisher I accepted the sacred trust to continue with the paper, come hell or high water. Recently, I made a vow in Ruben’s grave that I will do everything in my power to keep it afloat, in the same level of respect and recognition when he left it to me.
I am affirmed by our readers that I have done just that. We continue to be the sounding board of people who have grievances and axes to grind and we remain sworn to advocate for them to the best of our abilities.
People can see through insincerity and dishonesty. No amount of money, or wealth, or power can clean our image and reputation, and unfortunately, our children and grandchildren will suffer from our ill will.
We all make mistakes, as humans, that is granted. Simply because people do not bother to tell you does not mean that they don’t know or care. We all know Filipinos keep count and judge accordingly. I personally would not want to go through life with such a burden. I would clear it right away at the earliest opportunity.
Again, if you are handling community funds, timely and proper accounting goes with it…. that is all we ask on behalf of kababayans.
When fellow advocates have died fighting with us for this same principle, all the more reason we will pursue it in their memory. The community stands with us for their vindication. Remember they stood up for the truth and brought their complaints to us, and all we did was to oblige them.
Heaven for sure will intervene and give justice to these heroes. May they rest in peace with the hope and belief that someday, their deaths were not in vain.
There is nothing more precious than having a clear conscience. There is always a good reason for people to understand and forgive. With that, then you can finally live in peace. ***