Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Did Filipino publisher Mon Datol prove Labor Attache' Frank Luna Right?

BACKGROUND: The Philippine government, through it's embassy and consulate, with the ambassador, consul-general and labor attache's signatures, awards Toronto Star writer Dale Brazao for his articles about caregivers. Afterwards, Canada enacts new laws protecting them. Filipino media led by Ace Alvarez, Tenny Soriano and Mon Datol, all members of the Philippine Press Club of Ontario (PPCO), protests, saying publisher Eddie Lee - a non-member of the PPCO - has written more about caregivers than Brazao. Eddie Lee is surprised. He did not complain and has no plan to file one. PPCO accuse Labor Attache' Frank Luna of giving more information about caregivers to Brazao than to PPCO members. LA Frank Luna allegedly called one PPCO official a "moron" for making a crazy allegations in an email. Luna cannot name the person because the PPCO official did not leave his or her name when the allegation was made.

When the new Consul-General, Minerva Falcon had a breakfast with the Filipino community as an introduction to the Filipino community, Datol, Soriano and Alvarez turned it into a mini-forum. However, Falcon was briefed on the background of the issue and was ready. "When Datol's turn came, he loudly told the Consul General that Luna had called local reporters "morons", sparking laughter among the crowd. At one point, an angry Datol, his voice cracking, said it was the consensus of local media to have Luna declared "persona non grata" so he can be expelled from Canada. Falcon coolly told him that only Canada can declare Luna a PNG and explained it to him.

It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. -Mark Twain

Apparently, my friend Mon Datol did not know about Mark Twain's words to live by. Mon should learn that shooting from the mouth only kills reputations. In this case, his. Asking a Philippine Consulate to declare a Filipino "national" as "persona non grata" only proved Frank Luna right. "Persona non grata" can only be declared by a government against a foreign national. In this case, both are Philippine entities. Mon Datol should have researched this before demanding it. As for my friend Tenny Soriano using Eddie Lee as a "witness," it does not look like a good idea. In a court of law, if you only have one non-appearing, un-cooperating witness, the judge will only tolerate so many postponement before he dismisses your case. I am not a lawyer but I think that's how it works, hindi ba? Maybe, Soriano cited Lee because Lee is not a member of the Philippine Press Club of Ontario. But there is still that issue of Luna calling the PPCO official a "moron." Members of the diplomatic corp are supposed to conduct themselves with finesse. If it was in writing, it was in poor taste and bad judgement on his part. If it was verbal, then , it becomes an issue of he said, they said and he can get away with it. It is a comment made only within a circle of friends.

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