It was supposed to be night focused on music. Like most gala events, it was meant to raise funds to help support the mission of FASO — the Filipino American Symphony Orchestra.
But alas, the night of glitter turned into a night of clutter, muddled by the introduction of politics into the event.
From all indications, Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo wasn’t part of the original program. Initial posters and invitations didn’t bear her name as guest of honor. While some paying members of the Foundation may have been pleased to be in the company of, or have a selfie with Robredo, I cannot imagine that there were not a few who felt they were misled, or even duped.
Back in the Philippines, the talk of the town is: who paid for Robredo’s travel to Los Angeles to attend the gala? (Nevermind that the timing was awkward: Marawi City was still reeling from the terrorist siege, prompting President Duterte to declare Martial Law in Mindanao. Nevermind that Robredo herself had been appealing for donations to help the victims of the siege.)
It doesn’t take a lot of common sense to know that Filipino taxpayers shouldn’t be paying for this travel that had nothing to do with Robredo’s official duties. We can only assume that someone else paid for the travel and related expenses. But of course, we won’t know that until the Office of the Vice President releases the information to the public. OVP has declined to release information of Robredo’s several foreign trips, despite the existence of the Freedom of Information (FOI) act.
So, did FASO pay for the travel costs?
For 25 years, Politikal Pinoy has managed 501 (c)(3) or nonprofit organizations in California. FASO is that type of organization.
As a public charity, it is required by law to disclose financial information to its members and the general public upon request.
Nonprofit organizations, especially a foundation like FASO whose function is primarily to raise funds to promote its mission, also usually make public their independent audits (assuming they perform them) and their annual tax returns.
It would be easy to find out if any of Robredo’s expenses were covered by FASO. But why wait for the next audit or tax filing (which would not be until next year) before the question at hand can be answered?
FASO should voluntarily go public about the financials of this gala event — and soon.
Because the bottom line is, if FASO didn’t pay for Leni’s trip, then who did?
That’s a different ball game altogether.