Bartolome Wins PCC Elections

February 21st, 2022 · No Comments

By Benjie de Ubago

Yes, it finally happened!  The Philippine Community Council of NSW’s (PCC-NSW) long awaited elections finally happened yesterday, Sunday, 20 February 2022 at Marayong Community Hall.  It stretched way past everyone’s desire and restlessness.

Pandemic restrictions were still the mode despite having been lifted last Friday.  Only double-vaxed affiliates, candidates and former presidents were allowed to enter the main hall.  Others were made to observe and half hear the proceedings from outside the hall, although chairs were provided.  Masks  were mandatory although some felt selfishly privileged enough not to wear one.

After the barrage of complaints of the last elections, Rey Manoto was absent from the scene this year.  It was Tom Baena’s turn to face the music and play returning officer. Baena, is a former police officer, a practicing  lawyer, and a former director of the Blacktown RSL Club. His many community involvements include being a member of Australian Philippine Services League (APSL) and the Knights of Rizal, to name a few.

Major Tom Baena, Returning Officer

A Special General Meeting (SGM) was scheduled prior to the Annual General Meeting and Election to tackle the much needed amendments to the constitution that have been plaguing the association for years.  However, none of the amendments passed approval.

Amusing but not surprising was the sneaky move to insert the change of logo in the constitution amendments by Bulseco and the Constitution Amendment Committee chaired by Rey Manoto along with Max Lopez, Elsa Collado, Serna Ladia, Lourdes Kaisser and Jess Arranz.  Obviously, there was ignorance about logos and advertising.  But the body was much wiser and did not approve of the change.  

Outgoing President, Alric Bulseco gave his presidential report orally.  No printed copies were available or maybe, it was intentionally not provided to  those on the outside looking in. It was therefore quite difficult to catch all he had to say.  As he had mentioned in past events, Bulseco reiterated “people are trying to disunite PCC.”   He referred to them as “vicious” without any thought to his contribution to the dynamics. “We cannot afford to have a leader who can be controlled from the outside,” he added.  In his usual staccato tone he bid his farewell with: “It has been an honour to serve the community for 14 consecutive years.” Of course we’ve gotten to know him in those 14 years when questions, comments and criticisms were not acceptable.  Is it any wonder why PCC-NSW has been on a slippery slope ever since his entry?   Should we dare further say, it’s not about number of years that matter, but what legacy does he leave behind?  And what has he really done for the community?  Bulseco ended his speech with “Do not vote for an outsider!”


For Cesar Bartolome it was a dream come true. Since his first attempt to run for president in 2007, Bartolome made it as President of PCC-NSW winning over Ferdi Francisco (29-24).

In his campaign speech, Bartolome spoke about disunity in the community and promised to settle disagreements as first in his agenda.  How interesting?!  As I said before, wonder why he hasn’t done it before.  Bartolome was full irony as his actions did not match his words.  He wouldn’t say hello or even give a nod of acknowledgement until he after he had won the election.  Another of his amusing quotes was:  “don’t wash your dirty linen in public.”  And to that I would say – why do you have dirty linen? And why hasn’t he washed it?  

The position for Vice President external was up for grabs between Lillian de los Reyes and Demi Robinson which first resulted to a tie. On the second casting of ballots, Demi Robinson won over Lillian – (27-24).

The other officers who made it on the PCC Board were:  Grace Liston (Internal Vice President), Darrel Swadling (Secretary), Jess Arranz (Treasurer), Sheila Collantes (Auditor). These people made it by default when the True team candidates – Bobby Lastica (for Internal Vice President), Vangie Leones (for Secretary), Dennis Laxamana (for Treasurer) and Tess Sayas (for Auditor) withdrew their candidacies after delivering their impassioned speeches.  Espie Pogson won the PRO position (28) over Dave Tan (24).

Those who withdrew their candidacies were committed to the vision of Francisco’s TRUE team.  As they indicated in their emotive speeches, they had agreed to run under the inspiring leadership of Ferdi Francisco.

Some affiliate members expressed disappointment with the withdrawals of the qualified candidates and commented “sayang” (such a waste). However, one was fuming and said, “They talk about unity and then they withdraw.” But the person failed to see that the act of withdrawal was not about unity or service to the community.  Having previously worked with Bartolome, they were not inclined to subject themselves to unnecessary stress for a man they couldn’t trust. Besides, all those who withdrew continue their community work through other associations. Dennis Laxamana for one had worked with Bartolome for 10 years in FAME, which is now in a comatose state. He experienced the unauthorized cheque incident. Vangie Leones felt that she had been treated as an “outsider” during her term with Bulseco. 

The seven (7) Directors elected were a mix-match from both teams – four (4) from the Francisco’s True Team – Maureen Santiago (33), Penny Perfecto (33), Mercy Jones (30); Dave Tan (29), and three (3)  were from Bartolome’s B2B6 team – Lee Meekan (34), Precy Santos (29) and Emily Rudd (27).  Likewise, candidates for Directors: Dr. Roger Fabian, Rey Morcilla, Lillia McKinnon of the True team also withdrew their nominations. All the other B2B6 candidates lost their bids.  Rod Dingle who was supposed to run as director independently also withdrew prior to the election although no announcement was made on the day.

Amazingly, Bulseco and Bartolome harped on “RESPECT” when neither had the decency to dish it back.  Neither were capable of showing appreciation, let alone gratitude.  Despite their words of togetherness and unity, they exclude not include.  “Show the respect the Board deserves,” said Bartolome.    In answer to that: if they acted respectfully, they would be respected. Respect cannot be demanded!  Respect begets respect!

And so another PCC election has been and gone as congratulatory remarks on FB posts are shuffled around by Bartolome’s supporters.  But as they say, the proof is in the pudding and without having expressed any clear vision, direction and/or platform aside from his plan to draw flowcharts and talk to people – it’s  a simply a wait and see as to who gets summoned to his  chambers.  There are more platforms to be found in Central station.

What is crystal clear is that the community is not ready for change nor do they want change.  They are creatures of habit and feel safe in their status quo for as long as they share in their “tickle me fancy” events and can bask in the trickles of attention. Although some may feign intelligence, the same mindset continues to thrive around us.  It’s not what you know; it’s not about skills and what you can do for the community; and neither is it about integrity. In the end – it’s who you know and who you play with the ‘BS’ game.

In the end, it’s the community that’s “true-ly lost!”

21 February 2022 

Tags: News