A Great Family Loss
And by family
I mean the absentee voting campaign family.
It is with great sadness that I share this terrible news: Joe
Pascual (in cyberspace, a.k.a., Alimasag and Islip les in Seattle) passed away last year.
Toni, the wife, was understandably too distressed to inform us of his sudden and
tragic bout with lung cancer.
For those of us who have followed the absentee voting campaign on the
Internet, Joe was a pioneer. Together with Armand Oliveros, he helped form the
Global Alliance of Filipinos for Filipinos way back. I personally first learned
about organized efforts to push the AVB issue after reading the groups postings and
Joe was very active in online forumsspending countless hours in
front of the computer, often arguing the merits of passing an absentee voting law.
[He once confessed to unfairly competing with his kids in the use of the family
computer.] Even more notable than that, he was results-oriented. When we
started our Web-based effort to enlist broad organizational support back in 2001, Joe was
one of the first to deliver, and he delivered big time:
On behalf of Mr. Rick Q. Beltran,
president of the Council of Filipino-American Organizations of the Pacific Northwest (an
umbrella group of 8 major Filipino organizations in the State of Washington) and the
concurrent chair of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations - Region VII
(representing 20 affiliate member organizations in the states of Washington, Oregon,
Idaho, and Alaska), I [Joe Pascual] am pleased to inform you that in our joint meeting on
March 5, 2001, the Council and the NaFFAA regional chapter passed a resolution unanimously
supporting the worldwide campaign urging President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to immediately
re-certify as urgent House Bill 10720, otherwise known as the Overseas Absentee Voting
When we organized the delegation visit that met with GMA and
Philippine lawmakers in 2001, Joe was sorry he could not join because of difficult
personal circumstances at the time, but even then, he sent a check for the campaign kitty
and provided us with contacts in Congress (Toni is the niece of Rep. Violago). He
told me it was his dream to bring the issue all the way to Malacaņang.
Despite his passion, he was patently self-effacing, preferring to use handles
in online forums. Apparently, he learned about his ailment right after our Manila
visit, but he did not want to burden us with the grave news. In his last note to me,
Marvin, I am not in the best of
Congratulations on a job well done ... Whatever you do, please update
Toni and I would lay low until things get back to normal. Regards.
Well, Joe, things wont get back to normal for you, but heres
an update: Both the Senate and the House have passed their separate versions of the
AVBIm very sorry you werent around when those milestones happened.
Now, as the bicameral committee iron out the kinks, were vigilantly waiting
for our lawmakers sense of fairness to prevail. Lets hope that theyll
see the compelling wisdom of enfranchising ALL overseas Filipinos who have a legal and
moral claim to suffrageto make Filipino citizenship, regardless of ones status
in a foreign land, as the primary basis of absentee voting. Even after living in the
States for many years, you held on to your Filipino citizenship, in the hope of one day
participating in Philippine elections. That, too, is no longer possible for you, but
rest assured that we will continue to push the campaign to a successful endas a
human rights issue and for the sake of our people, and now, for those of us who had the
pleasure of knowing you, in honor of your memory.