Order of the Knights of Rizal - Canada Region
Move towards autonomy fizzles
Leadership crisis in Canada shortlived; appointments accepted "with reservations"
Regional Assembly: Newly appointed Regional Commander Sir Emiliano Silverio, KGCR, announces his own appointments for key regional positions. Seated at his right is his deputy, Sir Chito Collantes, KGOR.
Toronto, August 26, 2005
After two dramatic and frenzy meetings held August 23 and 24, the controversial appointments made by Supreme Commander Sir Jose D. Lina August 13 was formally accepted by the Knights of Rizal in Canada, thus averting a prolonged crisis and possible breakup of the organization.
For a few days since the local Knights were jolted through second hand email on August 19 by Sir Lina's appointments, confusion and angst pervaded the late summer days and nights of the brotherhood as they grappled with the unexpected and unceremonious ouster of Sir Lapulapu Cana as well as with the non-delivery of the draft amendment to the By-Laws that Sir Lina promised.
There was once again talk of autonomy, the issue being the ultimate expression of frustration over Manila's "insensitivity" which is how Sir Dong Mineque described this latest move or lack thereof (in the case of the amendments) by the Philippine-based leadership.
A participant to the hastily-called August 23 Regional Assembly who described it as "tamed and sedate" compared the following night's open forum and called it "passionate and vigorous". On both occasions Sir "Ka Miling" Silverio gave an impassioned plea for unity and pledged he will never allow the brotherhood to disintegrate.
Jointly presided by Sir Fran Pulumbarit and Sir Voltaire de Leon, each attendee to the second meeting was given a chance to express his views and not surprisingly, there were moments of heated exchange and raised voices among those who were emotionally charged.
Open forum: Area Commander for Greater Toronto Area Sir Fran Pulumbarit, KGOR, (right) co-chairs informal meeting with Sir Voltaire de Leon (center), KOR, as Sir Tony Doctor, KGCR, listens intently.
At issue were the reason for replacing Sir Cana, the appointment of Sir Chito Collantes as Deputy Regional Commander, the surprise nature of the appointments, the inconsistency of the pledge made by Sir Lina about his mandate and the disappointment over Sir Lina's failure to fulfill his promise about the draft amendment.
When initially asked for his thoughts Sir Silverio said "I have nothing to say". He later spoke at the end of the meeting. Sir Cana on the other hand said he had no personal ill feeling towards anyone even as he explained what he thought was the reason why he was treated the way he was. Sir David Chan of the Chinese Chapter complained it was all "a mistake".
Sir Jess Cabrias recognized the questionable manner by which the appointments were handled but insisted there was nothing anyone could do to change the leadership's decision and that the body should accept and live with the new order of things. He described it as "status quo".
In the end, after pleas for civility from Sir Tony Doctor, founder of the Order in Canada, Sir Tom Virey, KCR newly appointed Area Commander for Western Canada, and others - and after repeated calls to remain Rizalian in attitude and conduct specially under very trying circumstances, it was the consensus that the body had no choice but to respect and accept the appointments, that autonomy is not warranted and that the acceptance is to be delivered in writing with an emphatic clause that it is with great reservations in view of the manner the appointments were made.
A proponent of autonomy who requested anononymity, said "we live to fight another day".
Europe this time in turmoil
UK, Ireland, a Belgium Chapter to reject appointment of "absentee" Regional Commander
August 22, 2005
According to Sir Bowman, "we in the UK and Ireland have reached an impasse. We have heard rumours of people not deserving of honours being given the highest positions. The UK and Ireland Chapters have suffered enough over the last 4 years. We have now got a mandate that if the Supreme Council push through with these ridiculous appointments then we will be divided and the UK and Ireland together with a Belgium Chapter will become independant of HQ".
Sir Bowman expressed objection to the getting of a non-resident Commander and complained that the organizers are "not listening to their members."
MIXED RESULTS: An account of the "august" meeting
by Sir Voltaire de Leon, Co-Chair
The absence of Sir Chito Collantes and the presence of his supporters and Sir Ka Miling prevented people , except a very angry Sir David Chan, from confronting the easy probability that Sir Chito 'fixed' the appointments in Manila. To attack somebody who wasn't there to defend himself would be in bad form. It was therefore not the time to get people to demand that Manila rescind its appointments. Much besides, the group agreed that by right the transitional SC has all the power to dictate whatever it thinks is necessary to reform the Order -- with or without explanation.
On the positive side, most of the responses were very critical of the manner by which the SC made the appointments and just about everybody was disgusted over the SC's disrespect to Sir Popoy Cana's person and leadership. A letter will be composed by Sir Romy Sinajon and signed by all those present. It says something to the effect that: WE ACCEPT THE SC APPOINTMENT OF SIR SILVERIO BUT WITH DEEP RESERVATIONS AS TO THE MANNER IT WAS MADE AND THE ABSENCE OF ANY RATIONALE WHY SIR CANA WAS DISPLACED. WE ALSO FIND THE LACK OF CONSULTATION OR PRIOR NOTICE TO SIR CANA UNREASONABLY HARSH AND DEMEANING OF A LEADER WHO WE HOLD IN HIGH ESTEEM.
All present supported the Rizalist principles articulated by Sir Mogi: * No taxation without representation. * Democratizing the organization (i.e., perhaps opening membership to women; and, * The Right to elect our officers. All these will be included in our proposals for change of the KOR constitution and by-laws. Sir Cana will be heading the Amendments Committee. Note: Sir Joey Lina's recent email made a correction that I agree with. I never mentioned in the summing up that we at the meeting declared ourselves 'autonomous'. All in all, the meeting consolidated our stand on those principles. As Regional Commander representing all of us, Sir "Ka Miling" Silverio will be presenting our demands to the SC.
Copyright 2005 Knights of Rizal Scarborough, Ontario, Canada
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