Dasmariñas Village prexy airs side

SPYBITS - The Philippine Star

My good friend Ed Reyes, who is the president of the Dasmariñas Village Association (DVA), sent an email in reaction to our July 20 column item titled “Village squabble” involving opposing groups within the homeowners’ association.

According to Ed, the whole thing started sometime in May 2012 when the then-DVA board “approved a contract with Globe for the improvement of the telecommunications mobile services within the village.” Amendments to the contract were subsequently approved in 2014 by another DVA board. However, health issues were raised by those opposing the presence of cell sites within the subdivision – although the telco presented a Department of Health certification that the equipment are safe and that they complied with all the necessary government permits.

One of the residents eventually filed a court case, which was subsequently dismissed. But “since the Globe matter has become so contentious, the incumbent board subjected the matter to a referendum” last April 2 wherein DVA residents voted for the retention of the contract with the telco.

Ed says the group, headed by Mrs. Betty Aw, that wanted to rescind the contract also fielded candidates for the 2017 board of governors election that was also held on April 2, with Mrs. Aw using the Globe issue as her main platform – getting “only 421 votes out of a possible 1,926 votes cast, and lost by a wide margin to the 7th placer,” Ed said.

Apparently, the issue was further complicated when the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) entered the picture and nullified the April 2 elections despite there being no complaint, notice or hearing whatsoever, said Ed, adding that the DVA appealed to the HLURB board of commissioners on the grounds of “lack of jurisdiction, grave abuse of authority and non-observance of due process. In the same appeal, DVA also raised the cavalier fashion by which the HLURB HOA head mysteriously acted upon the unverified letter of Mrs. Aw dated March 15  in less than 24 hours after its filing with the HLURB.”

What followed was the decision of the HLURB to conduct a new election of governors scheduled on July 9, which the group composed of Ed and the other governors elected last April 2 are questioning, because there was reportedly no quorum with only 58 votes cast out of a possible 2,469 votes – yet the HLURB election chair declared the five candidates as winners – with the justification that since what happened on July 9 was an election and not a meeting, no quorum was needed for the proceedings.

“The DVA is a corporate entity governed by its by-laws, the Corporation Code and HLURB Laws. Thus, even a first year law student knows that a corporation requires a quorum for major corporate undertakings, especially elections,” Ed pointed out.

Interestingly, one of the “candidates” in the July 9 HLURB-led elections has filed a manifestation with the HLURB protesting her inclusion and her “win” since she has reportedly signified her intention to withdraw as early as June 24, with the hesitant candidate’s counsel formally conveying that his client wanted to be removed as a candidate.

“There would not have been controversy if the HLURB did not issue orders in violation of its own rules and with seeming bias and partiality. Consequently, the HLURB officers who issued their highly questionable orders are now facing a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman,” wrote Ed, reiterating that the seven governors elected during the April 2 elections are “the lawful officers of DVA” who enjoy the “overwhelming support of the residents with 1,926 votes.”

Admittedly, all these legal and administrative entanglements have burdened the association with unnecessary legal costs. The fact is, there are quite a number of villages that have been or are also experiencing the same problems, like Ayala Alabang whose residents have been subjected to this long-running feud on whether to open more gates or not.  Some are opposed to the idea of opening more gates (specifically those on Champaca and San Jose streets) because of health and security implications to those living near the said gates. However, there are also many who approve of the proposal since it could help decongest traffic especially along Commerce Avenue that gets so congested during rush hours when students from nearby schools are dropped off or fetched.

Residents hope the issues are resolved soon because the squabbles are not good for the community, not to mention the expensive legal costs that are incurred.

The hopeful colors of Cameleon 

Businessmen should look into helping Cameleon Association, an NGO that has been helping sexually abused and disadvantaged children. According to Frenchwoman Laurence Ligier who founded the NGO in 1997, she chose the name Cameleon because it represents the NGO’s mission of helping children transform their lives as they get away from the past and move towards a better future – pretty much how a chameleon can change colors and adapt to its environment.

One example of a transformed life is that of Shaline Gamala (shown right in photo with Laurence Ligier), a young woman from Negros Occidental who was abused by the father of her teacher. It was Cameleon that helped Shaline get back up on her feet, transforming her from a helpless girl to a self-assured young lady who is now an English teacher with a Master’s degree in Education. She is also volunteering with Cameleon to help other girls with the same experience.  (Those who want to know more and help may check out www.cameleon-association.org.)

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Email: spybits08@gmail.com

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