The current leadership of the Filipino Community Council of Victoria (FCCVI) is creating confusion to the Filipino community. While FCCVI Chairperson does her daily duties as its head, Jing Sosa is representing himself as the Interim Chairperson after suspending Luetic. It appears that this is a case of two chairpersons simultaneously heading FCCVI in a battle for legitimacy among its members.
Leutic still FCCVI Chairperson
Luetic still functions as the Chairperson as evidenced by the daily running of the FCCVI office. On 4 November, she even spearheaded the awarding of certificates of training of the FCCVI members who attended on 12 September. Philippine Honorary Consul Felix Pintado graced the event.
“Westpac Bank has also confirmed that current FCCVI signatories will not be changed though attempted by the so-called interim group to register themselves as the new signatories for bank cheques,” Marina Garcia-Ruivivar, Adviser and Founding President of FCCVI, told The Philippine Times. She added that the funding bodies of FCCVI, both Federal and State, the Fair Work Commission and Employsure are corresponding officially with Luetic in her capacity as FCCVI Chairperson.
Sosa claims he is FCCVI Interim Chairperson
Jing Sosa, on the other hand, presents himself as the Interim Chairperson of FCCVI. In his correspondence with the Fair Works Commission and with Luetic herself, Sosa has been using the FCCVI letterhead—signifying that he has assumed the role of Interim Chairperson as he claims he has the unanimous consent of the organisation. Having suspended Luetic, he even ordered the safeguarding of confidential files within the premises of the FCCVI office. At first, he signed as Spokesperson of the FCCVI Committee of Management (COM) but recently is using the title “Interim Chairperson”.
On 8 October, Sosa sent a letter to Scott Stevens of Fair Works Commission notifying him of Luetic’s suspension as Chairperson over various allegations such as leadership issues. Sosa also alleged that she failed on several occasions to attend a meeting with them to discuss the termination procedure adopted that led to the termination of the Centre Manager. “While on suspension, Ms. Luetic will not be allowed to perform the responsibilities, duties and powers of the Chairperson set out at Section 59 of the constitution. Following this action, she has been replaced as a contact person for the FCCVI COM by Mr Leoncio ‘Jing’ Sosa,” the letter said.
FCCVI files being compromised
Who should really be holding the FCCVI key? Both Luetic and Sosa have claimed the right to secure the confidential files of FCCVI. Sosa, who attempted to change the locks of the Multi-Purpose Centre on 2 November, was derailed by Luetic’s camp who sent three of her people to keep watch of the premises against ‘illegal changing of locks and keys” and to prevent some FCCVI members from entering the centre.
Upon encountering Luetic’s security, Sosa took it upon himself to notify interim centre manager Martha Jones of their ‘unlawful entry’. Despite both appearing to have breached security in their own terms, only Sosa was able to issue an incident report regarding the potential security risk imposed by Luetic’s party. In his letter dated 3 November, Sosa said Fred Jover and Clem Conag were inside the building when three of his COM went to the Centre. “It is not known if they had slept in the house overnight, as we understand that there had been a meeting at the said premises the previous evening. A lock that had been changed by our locksmith on the 02 November had been changed overnight. Therefore the entry of these people may have been unlawful. I am very concerned, as I do not know if these men accessed any offices or not, but whether they did, or didn’t, is of grave concern to me and other members of the Committee of Management,” he said. Sosa attached in the same letter Jover and Conag’s photo.
Luetic is currently holding the FCCVI keys and is responsible for the safety of its files.
Looming court case?
While the two groups are at loggerheads, lawyers are being consulted now. A court case about the issue including privacy may or may not happen. What complicates the issue is the forthcoming FCCVI elections this 15 November. Who will finally be elected Chairperson of FCCVI will determine its course and hopefully would end the current leadership crisis.
Sosa’s group lashes back at unfair media treatment
The Philippine Times, caught between the battle for legitimacy between the two factions, was recently faced with criticisms from Sosa’s group complaining why their names were included in the article (“Perla Luetic is still FCCVI Chair”). If Sosa claims he is the Interim Chairperson, it seems that his group is expecting a headline along these lines: “Sosa is now FCCVI Chair”. The memorandum issued by Luetic banning some FCCVI members is a public document posted in the FCCVI office and distributed to all FCCVI staff, security and order enforcer. The intent of the memo is to notify the public of the incident and the banned members to maintain peace and security at the FCCVI premises.
Earlier, when asked for comments on the issue, Sosa told The Philippine Times, “We will provide you with information once the issue is resolved.”
Stating the fact that Luetic still remains Chairperson as of this writing, The Philippine Times does not refute the possibility of another FCCVI Chairperson. In the coming election, Luetic, Sosa or a new person will be elected Chairperson of the FCCVI. The Philippine Times will still report the outcome of the election and any issues that affect the interest of the Filipino community.
Any statement that claims otherwise is welcome for publishing in keeping with the newspaper’s responsibility of fair reporting.