10:51 a.m. EST March 3, 2007
Philippines - Recent "developments
and certain aspects of the OKR no longer exemplify
Rizal's vision of universal brotherhood and
selflessness" was how Sir Hans Schoof explained
his reasons for resigning from the Order of the
Knights of Rizal last February 18, 2007.
public only on the 26th of February, the resignation
comes as a sour note to end the 16th
International Assembly just concluded in Manila the
day before. The former Supreme Deputy Commander from
Germany is a highly respected Rizalist who's been
active in the international brotherhood for over
twenty years and his giving up on the OKR has
caused shockwaves throughout the organization.
Schoof's departure dramatizes the brewing troubles
of the Order particularly those in Europe where the
controversially appointed incumbent Regional
Commander (Sir Lino Paras) has been under severe
criticism for alleged plagiarism and racism. A
persistent and strong clamor by the members to the
Supreme Council in Manila to resolve the issue has
for the last six months been ignored and is believed
to be the primary cause of Sir Schoof's decision.
of the resignation drew quick reaction from numerous
member Knights in various regions such as Canada and
and Middle East. The flood of emails expressed
sadness over the loss of Sir Schoof as well as
indignation over Manila's inability or refusal
to make good on the "ultimatum" set by
Supreme Commander Hilario G. Davide Jr. last
September to Sir Paras. The former demanded the
latter to explain his side of the story within
twenty four (24) hours "or else". It has
been over three thousand (3,000) hours since then
and nothing has been heard of again of the case. Sir
Davide himself left on the eve of the Assembly for
New York to take his post as permanent U.N.
ambassador for the Philippines.
"developments" alluded to in the
resignation apparently referred to the ongoing
bitter conflict in Canada among the members over
alleged gross violations of the By-laws and serious
criminal and civil offenses by a group of officers
identified as having the blessings of some high
ranking official in Manila. Coincidentally, Paras of
Europe has also been reported as a lackey of the
same personality in the Council of Elders.
on behalf of concerned members who are affiliated
with the Knights of Rizal Reform Movement (KRRM),
Coordinator Sir Ramon Jun Zerrudo has appealed both
to the Supreme Council to address the issues
forthwith in order to prevent further damage and to
the frustrated members to hold their own decision to
resign in abeyance pending response from the
Philippines. Manila to date remains silent.
makes last appeal, will call for general meeting to
Ontario, February 28, 2007
East and Africa Region also in disarray, mass resignation
posted 8:06 AM February 27, 2007
Saudi Arabia - Like wildfire, the drastic
decision arrived at by Sir Schoof is bearing on other
troubled members operating in other regions.
the Middle East and Africa, Commander Sir Zane M. Thirlwall
of the Eastern Province Community Chapter reports in an
email that it "seems the recent resignation of Sir Hans
Schoof, KGOR is the start of more problems. In the Eastern
Province Community Chapter Saudi Arabia, more resignations
will follow. It's not that Knights here are childish in the
fact that they just want what they say, but the actions from
the IHQ [International Headquarters] just shows that the
Order is in serious trouble."
Thirlwall adds there will be "mass resignation .. if
things don't sort themselves out. Knights are serious here
and their work and activities had proven this."
immediate cause of the Middle East members Knights'
disillusion is not the same as in Europe or Canada but
observers suspect there is a link in their origins. The
local membership was first rattled by the sudden revocation
of the appointment of very active Regional Commander Sir
Bert Layag last February 5, 2007. Arguing that the reason
given (through unofficial mediation) by Manila was flimsy
and unfair the members were subsequently given a new blow by
the following turn of events:
than admitting an error in judgment for the unfounded
revocation Manila instead has gave blessings to someone
"close" to the powers-that-be not only to take
over the leadership but to create new chapters
"within" an existing one. Sir Thirwall adds "no
system followed, no chain of command followed and above all
he's pushing to have expelled Knights put in to Officer
Thirwall comments "WOW are we in trouble here, and from
all information received from Manila, they support him. This
will add to the mass resignation and death of our Chapter.
For the record the Senior Knight doing this is not from our
Chapter he lives 400 KM away but sees the need to divide our
chapter if not kill it off."
reaction to the fiasco Sir Jose M. Velasquez appealed to his
fellow members in the Region. He said "Its about time
[we] do the formalities and elevate it [to the] IHQ as a
common stand. Let us write the manifesto and have all
knights signed it as our official and formal stand.
"After then.... BE IT! Let the INACTION/ACTIONS from
IHQ take its course!!! I am one of the Knights who will SIGN
and RESIGN should IHQ fail to act in favor of our position.
If ever IHQ does not give importance to our case, treating
us as if we do not mean a lot in the order, let us then make
sure that this event will be put on the record as one of the
many SAD [episodes] in the History of OKOR."