NEW YORK — Filipino community leaders in the northeast have spoken, and they want to see some changes on how the Philippine Independence Day parade in New York City is run.
Since 1989, the Philippine Independence Day Council, Incorporated, or PIDCI — and its member groups — have organized the biggest annual Philippine Independence parade outside the Philippines.
But in the last few years, the organization’s transparency and integrity are in question.
Ronnie Mataquel, a former PIDCI board member, says his organization’s renewal application was not granted after he questioned PIDCI’s financial and electoral process.
In an emailed statement to BA, current PIDCI president Antero Martinez said in 2016, IRS revoked PIDCI’s 501c-3 status because PIDCI failed to file the 990 tax returns for at least 3 years.
The former treasurer, Violeta McGough, has also been under federal investigation for allegedly embezzling her employer for $900,000.
McGough stepped down as secretary in 2017 and has since been the suspect of PIDCI’s alleged missing funds.
But Martinez says PIDCI did not sue McGough to recover the alleged unspeficied amount of stolen funds in the interest of “more important considerations – than just showing that a lawsuit was filed to satisfy a few.”
Donors to PIDCI were led to believe their donations are tax deductible – but without the 501-c-3, they are not.
While consul general Claro Cristobal promised to look into the creation of an ad-hoc committee to oversee this year’s Philippine Independence Day parade, PIDCI President Martinez said forming such a committee is “misguided,” since PIDCI is a corporation independent of the Philippine consulate.
Martinez says he will comment further on what PIDCI calls a “take over” after more details are provided by the consul general.