The United Filipino Canadian Associations of BC appears to be in part a ghost paper organization that does not represent many Filipino associations or groups in British Columbia. It has for some of its officer’s or members notorious personalities, some involved in swindling and other suspicious activities, against hapless Filipino-Canadians. Yet, they claim to represent all Filipino groups in this province, an outright lie if one asks people active in these associations.
There is a standard but questionable practice in the Philippines where people of ill-repute organize ghost associations to attract politicians and political parties into financially supporting them in exchange for a glowing endorsement.
Ironically, Rey Fortaleza has been recruited recently into becoming an active member of Harper’s Conservative Party which puts into question his integrity as a former leftist activist and neutrality as a newspaper publisher. The Tories probably thought he was legitimate ethnic media. His publications are now littered with Conservative propaganda. He is likewise actively supporting a candidate that allows Cyber-Bullying on his Facebook wall trying to land a seat as a Member of Parliament.
This is the second time Rey Fortaleza, the publisher of the Philippine Asian News Today (PNT) (Reyfort Media Group) included my wife Luisa Marshall, myself or one of our businesses on his front page PNT newspaper with confusing, misleading, self-serving headline titles that appear to attempt to harm our reputation although he failed to back up his claims with facts.
Due to Fortaleza’s unsubstantiated accusations in this latest article (Publisher Hit for Undermining Efforts to Unite Community) and questionable journalism I am forced to defend myself publicly.
THIS IS HOW IT ALL STARTED
I wrote an article in the July Metrovan INDEPENDENT News titled “Are Filipino Associations Ready to Unite?” I wrote this article because I was informed by members of the community about the recent formation of an Association called the UNITED FILIPINO CANADIAN ASSOCIATIONS OF BC (UFCABC).
Joel Castillo is the president, Rey Fortaleza is the Vice President and Janice Lozano is the Secretary. Joel Castillo claimed in a TV interview that they are “the conglomerate or the umbrella of different associations in BC”. I started to look into how this association came into existence. I contacted Narima Dela Cruz from the Surrey SPIDS Association, Alvin Relleve of the Barangay North Van and MV-PACES (North Van) and Carlito Pradas president of the Filipino Association of BC (FABC) which has been together for 58 years. I asked each one of them if they had been invited to join this new UFCABC. All replied that they were never contacted or given notice of the formation of the UFCABC.
I then contacted Joel Castillo by email on June 30/2015 and asked him 14 questions about this organization. Joel initially agreed to a meeting then cancelled by email. Joel never did answer any of my 14 questions sent on June 30/2015. You can view my article at www.metrovanindependent.com to see what I wrote about the UFCABC and see if their follow up article makes any sense.
However, Joel Castillo did manage to make the time to get together with his pal and Vice President of UFCABC Rey Fortaleza and do an interview for the Philippine Asian News PNT. To no surprise, I was featured on the front page with the title “PUBLISHER HIT FOR UNDERMINING EFFORTS TO UNITE COMMUNITY” along with a picture of Joel Castillo and Deputy Consul Anton Mandap together in a picture where Mandap had a thumbs up as if he approved of this article.
I emailed Rey Fortaleza on July 27/2015 and Joel Castillo on July 29/2015 to ask them numerous relevant questions concerning what was in his PNT article. I asked them to show me the evidence they had to back up their questionable and confusing statements. As of press time neither of them answered anything and failed to show any evidence to support anything that they wrote or stated.
MY COMMENTS ON THE PNT ARTICLE “PUBLISHER HIT FOR UNDERMINING EFFORTS TO UNITE COMMUNITY”
“PUBLISHER HIT FOR UNDERMINING EFFORTS TO UNITE COMMUNITY” (PNT front page quote)
This title is misleading and potentially harmful to me and my reputation. It states as a fact that I have been “HIT for undermining efforts to unite the community.” The article title should be reporting on the fact that someone else already hit me for “undermining efforts to Unite Community.” Whereas the article itself is the one doing the hitting.
I simply asked the same questions that other leaders wanted to know. I never got any answers and now they say I’m “undermining efforts to unite community” just because I ask questions that they won’t answer? I asked Rey Fortaleza and Joel Castillo the following questions. How was Steve Marshall “HIT FOR UNDERMINING EFFORTS TO UNITE THE COMMUNITY”, How and by whom was Steve Marshall “Hit”? How did Steve Marshall “Undermine Efforts to Unite the Community”? They had no answers or responses and could not show any evidence to support this front page title in the PNT newspaper.
“Marshall claimed that Castillo became involved in the formation of UFCABC in early 2015 because he lost in the election for the presidency of another organization, the Filipino Association of BC (FABC), two years earlier or in 2013.” (Quote PNT paragraph #2)
This is a statement made by the PNT. I wrote “This has been a discussion in BC that likely started over 50 years ago. There seems to be a pattern that Filipinos get together and form a Society then at some point a Presidential candidate loses then starts his own new group to be President.
Later in that new group the same thing can happen splitting into another group.” I did not mention Joel Castillo. I was talking about the history of Filipino Societies for the last 50 years. Then on the 8th paragraph I wrote “Now in 2015, 2 years after Joel Castillo lost to Carlito Pradas in a bid to be president of the Filipino Association of BC, Castillo became involved in a new association: the United Filipino-Canadian Associations of BC.” I just stated a fact. I asked Rey Fortaleza and Joel Castillo Where did Steve Marshall specifically claim that Joel Castillo became involved in the formation of UFCABC because he lost in the election for presidency two years earlier in another organization?
They had no answer or response to support what they said or wrote. Castillo stated he thinks what I said was “hurtful and demeaning to his person and integrity”.
NOTE TO JOEL CASTILLO: You are the president of this new controversial UFCABC group. It is your job to answer tough questions in a timely manner so stop the whining and take care of business.
HOW DID THE UFCABC ACTUALLY GET STARTED?
This is most confusing issue. I asked Joel Castillo last month, but he still refuses to answer. Why would he not answer this question? What is he hiding?
I wrote “How did the Pista ng Bayan Society which normally organizes the yearly Slocan Park Philippine Independence day event and Gala night turn into a self-titled UNITED FILIPINO-CANADIAN ASSOCIATIONS IN BC? This happened without telling all the associations that they are claiming to represent?”
The Philippine Consulate wrote a letter dated Dec 22/2014 that invited all the community leaders to meet on January 16/2015 so the Consulate can step down as the co-chair of the Pista ng Bayan Society and create a calendar of activities to commemorate the 117th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence Day. The Consulate’s letter was very clear what the January 16/2015 meeting would be about and nowhere was anything written about forming the UFCABC.
The formation of the UFCABC somehow happened after the January 16/2015 meeting at other meetings throughout the following months.
NOTE TO THE UFCABC: After the January 16/2015 meeting was the time to contact all organizations and media and let everyone know your intentions to form a “United” organization that would represent everyone. Doesn’t that make sense?
These are some of the questions I asked Joel Castillo. When and how was this group formed? What is the mission of this group? Which community groups, associations, societies or leaders did you invite to join this group and how was that decided? Are there any associations, societies that weren’t invited, informed and why?
Why did the organization of your group have to be done so fast hereby leaving out all the other groups? What was the rush? Joel Castillo had no answers for any of these questions.
THIS IS WHERE THEY REALLY TRY TO CONFUSE THINGS
The PNT newspaper article stated: “Everybody was given the chance to join and volunteer,” Castillo said. “All heads of recognized Filipino associations were given due notice and an opportunity to serve as volunteer or member…. “Neither of them cannot now question the legitimacy of the proceedings because they were given due notice and ample opportunity to participate,” Castillo said.
NOTE TO PRESIDENT JOEL CASTILLO and VICE PRESIDENT RAY FORTALEZA of the UFCABC: This “chance to join and volunteer” was specifically only for the original intentions of the Consulate that I detailed before. This was NOT for anything to do with this controversial UFCABC that you and your group came up with at a later date. Both of your comments in the PNT article are very misleading and you refuse to send me any information to back up your statements.
NOTE TO REY FORTALEZA PUBLISHER OF PHILIPPINE ASIAN NEWS (PNT): Rey Fortaleza, why can’t you provide any evidence to back up this ridiculous article? You broke a lot of ethical rules according to the Canadian Association of Journalists. Firstly, you did not ask me for my side of the story which is a golden rule if you are going to write or name me in your newspaper. Secondly, you did not verify the statements you made with facts. Thirdly, you can’t even answer any of my questions regarding this article or give any evidence to support it. Fourthly, you failed to reveal you are a biased journalist because you are the Vice President of the UFCABC.
THIS ISN’T THE FIRST TIME WE MADE THE FRONT PAGE OF THE PNT NEWS BY REY FORTALEZA
The first time my wife Luisa Marshall was front page in the PNT newspaper was last July 2014 with the huge title BUSTED: “BOMBA NEWS”. Rey Fortaleza put a picture that included Bert Morelos, Reeve Ryan, Luisa Marshall and Amado Lugtu. The article took up the front page and the entire 2 center pages of the PNT newspaper. The first reaction of readers was what did Luisa Marshall do? This entire article had nothing to do with Luisa Marshall. What was it really about?
The only “BOMBA NEWS” was the fact that few knew that Christian Cunanan invested and lost reportedly $70,000.00 in Rey Fortaleza’s RFTV & Events ventures. Rey concluded from reading on Facebook that Bert Morelos knew about this, and worse, according to Bert Morelos, he knew that Rey wanted even more money from Christian Cunanan. It appeared Rey was worried that Bert Morelos and Amado Lugtu was going to reveal this information so he wanted to do it first. Thereby, Rey Fortaleza proceeded to bust himself.
BUSTED: “BOMBA NEWS” was put online, in print (distributed all over the lower mainland) and included on Rey and Araceli’s public Facebook walls where they allowed attacks against Luisa Marshall from their supporters. Even though this article did not have anything to do with Luisa Marshall, Araceli Fortaleza approved and allowed an anonymous writer named Konsensyang Pinoy (who was hiding his/her name) to attack and Cyber-Bully Luisa personally and our Simply the Best TV show.
Rey and Araceli Fortaleza and Joey Albert liked the Konsensyang Pinoy Facebook post which attacked Luisa Marshall and our TV show. Our logo was changed to “SIMPLY BUSTED”. Luisa was called “The Copycat…” It stated “the real attack dogs of the community exposed” There is no reason at all to include this in this BOMBA NEWS issue except for personal attacks against Luisa and our TV Show.
Simply the Best TV Show and Luisa Marshall did not get busted for anything. Luisa Marshall did not attack anyone. Luisa did not get exposed for anything. We think it is unconscionable and shameful that these people would like and approve of something like this and worse Rey and Araceli Fortaleza the publishers allow this despicable behavior on their public Facebook wall.
I was disappointed, but not surprised that Rey Fortaleza chose again to use his newspaper against us. The “BOMBA NEWS” eventually backfired on him and this time will again reveal the type of journalism he chooses to put in his PNT newspaper.
In my opinion, Rey Fortaleza attacks the wrong people the wrong way for the wrong reason and when he should investigate to protect the community he doesn’t. I hope the PNT advertisers take a close look at Rey Fortaleza’s actions and decide if they should be supporting and associating themselves with this type of newspaper.
I had to originally start the website www.driven2action.com so we could defend ourselves against similar issues like this that happened in the last many years from Rey Fortaleza and his group of buddies including Janice Lozano, Joey Albert, Roque Juatco Jr, Romeo Gabriola Torres and Jojo Quimpo. You can read it all in greater detail on DRIVEN2ACTION.COM.