Bittersweet victory for Tatay Tom


The 89 year old patriarch of the Multicultural Helping House Society – MHHS, Tatay Tom Avendano was re-elected in a landslide victory despite the issues, feuds, attacks and allegations by his opponents led by Ching Colobong and an anonymous group calling themselves “Concerned Friends of MHHS”.

“I sympathized but I am shocked…. shocking talaga at I am ashamed,” Tatay Tom said. “It was a shocking experience to me because even in the Philippines during my term as a councilor. I think the Filipinos in the Philippines were more behaved.”

The anticipated disorder in the election hit the patriarch of Multicultural Helping House Society. Tatay Tom Avendano expressed his disappointment and described the election as ‘chaotic’. “They did not follow the program of the Annual General Meeting.” Other members of the MHHS introduced issues such as suggesting that Tatay Tom be ‘emeritus’ (retired or honorably discharged from active professional duty) and that he should not be on the ticket. It was an intention suspected to divert the attention of the meeting instead of following through with the election.

During the AGM – Annual General Meeting before the election, Ching Colobong and her supporters tried to discredit Tatay Tom. He said, “It is sad Ching Colobong and her party divided the people. My idea was to put the list of all the candidates and let the people decide. But they have formed their own ticket as if it is a political party. So what can I do? Unfortunately, some good people are there. They included Mike Cayetano to be in their ticket so I cannot put Mike Cayetano in my ticket. They put Cholo Insua in their ticket. All of these people lost and I feel lost because these are people that have good reference. But they lost. All of them. Nadamay sila. Si Rey Fortaleza… talo. Walang nanalo sa kanila kahit isa…”

According to Tatay Tom the situation got worse still. “The election started, the votation already is almost half finished and then they like to postpone the election.”

“Walang nanalo sa kanila kahit isa…” – Tatay Tom

In an email to MetroVan Independent News, former MHHS vice president Mike Cayetano wrote, “May I state that we were not trying to stop the election but simply requested that the election be POSTPONED to a date in the near future so as to allow us additional time to resolve issues that have been brought up to the board months prior to the already-postponed jul 28 election date. At the same time, perhaps a further posponement might have allowed us more time to resolve new issues that suddenly unraveled and puzzled our good senses on this eventual election day. An issue of importance that arose that day was that we did nor have a corrected list of voters who are eligible to vote as dictated by the by-laws of the constitution. In fact, the COMELEC was operating with two lists of voters.”

According to Cayetano, the MHHS-issued an official list of voters consisting of 65 names, which included the president Tatay Tom Avendano, his son Benny Avendano and Patricia Diamzon. However they all had expired memberships therefore allegedly not eligible to vote under the MHHS constitution. Marius Alparaque, belonging to Ching Colobong’s ticket requested a postponement of the election to review the official list.

Despite the objection, the COMELEC approved the list of voters. Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants, PICPA Joy Lagayan confirmed to MVI News in an email that PICPA Vancouver Canada volunteers served as the COMELEC during the election.

Former MHHS director/treasurer Cholo Insua and Tatay Tom Avendano tried to bring peace and order while former colleagues and other trusted former Board Members joined the opposition ticket. Cholo Insua says, “Too bad. I was protecting Tatay’s cause. Ching knows this but she know I am fair so I guess she put me in her ticket too. It seems Mike was in her corner at the end because he is against Demi and Marilou. I was with him in this view.”

When asked if he would quit his long time volunteer work at the society, Insua wrote, “My wife is glad I lost. I always say I will quit but the work/ crisis never seem to end. I will leave the new board some space to sort things out by themselves. I am sure despite their weak resumes, they can work things out and improve Mhhs.”

A few people suspected that the anonymous group called the “Concerned Friends of MHHS” were Tatay Tom’s opponents in the election. Insua said, “The so- called Concerned Friends should stop this harassment of Mhhs. They went to a gunfight without Bullets and they lost. There are no anomalies at Mhhs. It’s just run tatay’s way and they don’t like it. They want change but I think they are made of the same cloth with a different colour.”

“The so- called Concerned Friends should stop this harassment of Mhhs. They went to a gunfight without Bullets and they lost. There are no anomalies at Mhhs. It’s just run tatay’s way and they don’t like it. They want change but I think they are made of the same cloth with a different colour.” – Cholo Insua

Mike Cayetano further stated in his email to MVI News, “Relating to the group calling themselves “Concerned Friends of MHHS”, i am not affiliated with this group nor do i have any knowledge of their identities. However, please understand that there are many large and small community groups and individuals who are critical of tatay tom and mhhs. As an example, consider that there is another much larger caregivers group that have contradictory opinions and are critical of tatay tom and mhhs. This fact, which sits in mhhs’ own backyard, may be evidenced thru much lower membership in the MHHS Caregiver group and significantly lower participation in caregiver conferences and events of recent years.”

Tatay Tom challenged the Concerned Friends to come out and meet with him. “How do we respond to them if we don’t know them?” he asks.

MVI News tried to reach Ching Colobong but she hasn’t responded as of this writing.

Despite the bold attacks by the anonymous group “Concerned Friends of MHHS”, Tatay Tom’s son Benny and brother Demetrio ‘Demi’ were both elected placing the Avendano family the top 3 in the final counting. “Kailangan ang taong maglilingkod dito has the same dedication as I have.”

MHHS newly elected Board of Directors and Officers for 2018-2020

  • Tom Avendaño, President & C.E.O.
  • Marilou Yodogawa, Vice President
  • Janet Teves, Secretary
  • Erlinda Cruz, Treasurer
  • Benedicto Avendaño, Internal Auditor


  • Marcela Reyes
  • Teresita Tang
  • Demetrio Avendaño
  • Dorothy de los Reyes
  • Susan Panlican
  • Patricia Diamzon

About the Writer

MetroVan Independent News Team

The MetroVan Independent News team is a group of talented individuals uniting to serve their community through the power of words. They strive for accuracy, fairness, transparency and accountability aiming to engage, inform and entertain their readers. The team's secret weapon is courage and integrity... with a hint of adobo.

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