|Corruption in the Philippines|
From: Ron Halbrook <RonHalbrook@compuserve.com>
Thank you for giving me an opportunity to read Glenn Hamilton's post of 6-9-99, responding to my remarks of 6-9-99 (written in rebuttal to his accusations against Jim McDonald & me which you received). Also, I have read his comments of 6-8-99 to the Wallers and his answer of 6-11-99 to Earl Mitchell. As time has permitted during the past several days, I have put together some information and observations which may be helpful to you.
1. He says he does not remember his previous attack on the work Jim McDonald & I are doing in the Philippines. This attack came to our attention when others who had received his charges asked us for further information. I forwarded to you what he said in that attack & my reply.
2. I had mentioned that Earl Mitchell & I found the Luzon brethren had recovered from last year's drought, pointing out conditions there this year (1999) were much improved from last year (1998) when Jim McDonald and I encountered so much devastation and suffering on Luzon. Glenn fired back wanting to know why benevolence was distributed on Luzon if brethren there had recovered, which is to say Glenn has confused the disastrous conditions Jim McDonald & I discovered on the 1998 trip and the much improved conditions Earl Mitchell & I found on the 1999 trip. My original point still stands, that the Luzon brethren freely acknowledged their improved conditions rather than painting a grim picture and seeking a lot of extra benevolence. This is indeed strange conduct for brethren Glenn describes as a bunch of liars & crooks who will say & do anything to get more money.
3. Glenn's comments indicate we heaped huge portions of money on Luzon in 1998 and slighted or neglected Mindanao. The truth is that we delivered substantial sums of benevolence to brethren suffering on both islands.
4. Glenn's comments indicate we heaped huge portions of money on "the urban areas" while neglecting the rural areas. The truth is that we delivered benevolence to brethren representing both urban and rural churches, and we helped far more rural churches than urban. I have copies of dozens of receipts showing who donated the money, what church received it, the number of members and amount received, with the name, address, & signature of the representative of the church receiving the benevolence. This was done not only to verify delivery of the money donated, but also to provide a means to follow up on any later questions or complaints. Keep in mind that a potential problem in one place does not discredit the good accomplished throughout the Philippines in other places. We realize that brethren in a number of urban and rural churches received no help because we were not able to reach them and they were not able to reach us. Glenn is wrong in suggesting crop failures affect only the farmers; the supply and price of rice is affected, which in turn affects brethren in urban areas. When we traveled in the Philippines during 1998, newspapers were filled with articles about crops destroyed, short supplies, and high prices.
5. Glenn complains that the approximate amount of $26 which we gave to each saint is not much money. We realize that is true, but we could only distribute what we had. We told the brethren that we wished it could be more. They told us with tears that the love of U.S. brethren which it represented meant more to them than the amount. Also, we learned that depending on some variables (family size, cost of rice), $26 could provide rice for 3-6 weeks. When brethren are destitute, something is better than nothing.
6. Glenn declares that we are such novices about the Philippines as to have no means of recognizing "reliable men" who will provide honest & accurate information. I have been corresponding with Filipino brethren for about 30 years, & have files of letters to prove it. The correspondence itself reflects the honesty of these faithful men. I have been close to many U.S. brethren who have preached in the Philippines during the past 30 years. Jim McDonald has made a dozen trips to the Philippines. Glenn is wrong in assuming and presuming we decide who is reliable based on how well they speak English, & he cannot produce one iota of evidence for this aspersion. We decide on the basis of their record through the years. We decide by checking and cross-checking with knowledgeable men both in the U.S. and in the Philippines. We are fully aware that there are men in the U.S. & in the Philippines who are not sound, not faithful, and not reliable, but we have nothing but Glenn's assertions & accusations to justify his sweeping conclusion that most Filipino brethren are liars, crooks, and cheats. If Glenn wishes to continue claiming that this is true of most Filipinos with whom he associates, I can only say that I would be glad to introduce him to many who are sound, faithful, and reliable. Rather than being gullible as Glenn suggests, Jim and I have discovered the dishonesty of unfaithful men and have rebuked them and exposed them for what they are.
7. Glenn does not dispute the locusts, rats, & rebels but denies
our brethren have been "widely affected." Glenn has very limited
experience on Mindanao where these conditions have brought terrible suffering
to our brethren. It behooves him to acknowledge he has not visited all
the many places we have visited in multiple trips to Mindanao and he has
not communicated with the good men with whom we have communicated. Therefore,
it ill behooves him to make sweeping assertions about what has or has
not happened in those areas. Before Jim McDonald & I arrived in 1998,
we received reports from Filipino brethren of widespread suffering. When
we were there in 1998, we personally saw the crop devastation from the
drought. Again, reports & pleas for help were received before the
1999 trip, but I did not realize the magnitude of the devastation &
suffering until traveling on Mindanao. When Earl Mitchell and I were there
in 1999, we saw crop devastation, we interviewed many brethren from the
mountains, and we had a detailed discussion about the
suffering with a number of faithful men (Ben Libertino, Julie Notarte,
Juanito Balbin, Emilio Lumapay, etc., etc.). When we realized the
severity of the suffering, and learned how many had died, we asked why
the brethren had not sent more graphic pleas to the U.S. before our arrival.
They said because of the generosity of U.S. brethren in 1998, they were
afraid their pleas would be viewed as exaggerations created in an effort
to take unfair advantage of the love shown by U.S. brethren. They were
hesitant for us to report the severity of the suffering, especially in
the mountains, for the same reason. We concluded
on our own that we could not be silent when preachers, other saints, and
even children were suffering such destitution & privation--and when
some were dying. We did NOT take the word of one or two men in a superficial
way--because they spoke good English--but we considered letters, interviews
with many brethren, and some of the devastation which we could see with
our own eyes. Glenn should be ashamed for characterizing the suffering
8. Since Glenn earlier denied any significant number of Filipinos suffered from evacuations because of fighting between Muslim and government forces, I provided a newspaper article to document this problem. Glenn brushes it aside as "irrelevant" by saying it does not prove our brethren suffered from this problem while we were there. No, we do not have a newspaper article describing specifically how these events cause members of churches of Christ to suffer, but we saw the many military outposts and the presence of government soldiers, we heard rifle & mortar fire at night (Earl Mitchell is a career Marine, if anyone wants to question him about that), and we met some of the displaced brethren. The newspaper article confirms the conditions we described, while Glenn denied those conditions and claimed there has been no fighting on Mindanao in recent times.
9. To counter my point that the mountain people who suffer most severely
will be targeted to receive the bulk of the benevolence, Glenn says Jim
McDonald will not have time to visit the mountain churches. If Jim relies
on faithful brethren to help verify genuine needs, Glenn makes the sweeping
assertion that Jim will be relying "on the men who started this scam."
Such statements represent a paranoid, cynical, and arrogant attitude.
Without knowing which Filipino preachers Jim might rely on, Glenn does
not hesitate to act as prosecutor, judge, & jury in declaring them
to be base, corrupt, perpetrators of a "scam."
10. Glenn can parse words over technical & legal
definitions of "tribal," but the fact is that faithful Filipino
brethren are fast
11. When I suggested that Jim McDonald, Earl Mitchell, and myself will gladly answer specific questions about Glenn's charges, he dismisses out-of-hand anything we might say or document by comparing us to "vacationers and tourists" qualified for nothing "other than frequent flier miles." I suppose false teachers wishing to undermine Paul's work could have dismissed his work by comparing him to "vacationers & tourists" qualified for nothing "other than frequent sailor miles." Such verbiage does nothing to document Glenn's charges against us and against faithful Filipino brethren, nor to destroy the documentation & evidence of the work we are doing.
12. I said, "It is typical of Wallace Little & Glenn Hamilton to make an array of charges, which would consume vast amounts of our time to answer detail by detail, thus diverting us from the work we are doing." Glenn says I mention Little because I cannot answer Glenn's charges. To the contrary, I am making the point that I have answered these typical charges made by Little for several years now. Such charges are nothing new, and Glenn has done no more to document them than Little has done in past years. Glenn claims it would take only a few moments to clarify if he made "any mistakes," but, to the contrary, like Little before him, Glenn offers so many false charges & distortions that it takes many hours to answer detail by detail, thus diverting us from the work we are doing. If I can help honest brethren who have questions as a result of these charges by Little & Hamilton, I will gladly provide any needed information or documentation. But, I do not intend to chase & unravel all the accusations & distortions these men can throw out. Nehemiah made this point in responding to Sanballat & Geshem: "Why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?" (Neh. 6:3) Nehemiah would have gladly answered anyone's appropriate inquiries, but he refused to stop his work and chase round & round the mulberry bush with men who were undermining his work.
13. Glenn wants to know what I mean by "full fellowship" in
my statement, "Keep in mind that Hamilton like Little is working
in full fellowship with such men as Jim Puterbaugh, Don Wilson, &
Jerry Bassett in the Philippines (while professing not to agree with them
on such vital doctrinal matters as divorce-remarriage, or with Puterbaught
on one covenant, etc.)." I mean Glenn receives such men as faithful
brethren rather than rejecting them as false teachers. He exchanges with
them "the right hands of fellowship" by working with them (just
as Paul and Peter did, when they recognized each other as faithful preachers
rather than false teachers, Gal. 2:9). He says he lets them know he does
not see eye-to-eye with them on some things like MDR & the one-covenant
theory, but the fact is that he is practicing unity-in-doctrinal-diversity
with these men by continuing to work in full fellowship with them. When
such men depart from the clear doctrine of Christ, 2 Jn. 9-11 teaches
we cannot receive them into our spiritual fellowship. Glenn is treating
these matters of the doctrine of Christ as if they were matters of personal
opinion and liberty, which allows us to receive each other under the terms
of Rom. 14. By "full fellowship," I mean
the kind of fellowship Don Wilson described when he wrote a report on
his Feb. 1998 Philippine trip and told about conducting classes at Bagio
City "every day at Glen and Phoebe Hamilton's home" and about
traveling with Glenn to various places to preach ("Report on
Philippine Trip - 1998," by Donald R. Wilson, 4171 Helen Ln., Auburn,
CA 95602). This is precisely the spiritual fellowship we are forbidden
to extend to false teachers such as Don Wilson, according
to 2 Jn. 10-11, "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine,
receive him not into your house, neither bid him Godspeed: For he that
biddeth him Godspeed is partaker of his evil deed."
14. Glenn says I slandered his deceased father-in-law, Emeterio Picsiwen, by pointing out his lack of confidence in Glenn with regard to these issues. Glenn says the two of them never differed except over whether to expose a "crooked" preacher, which Glenn implies Emeterio refused to do because he owed a lot of money to the man (Rody Gumpad). Glenn proclaims my observation a "baseless allegation," mere "gossiping." To the contrary, I mentioned brother Picsiwen's lack of confidence in Glenn because the man has an excellent reputation in the Philippines and because I know firsthand he was disappointed in Glenn's conduct relative to matters of this kind. On 5-27-97 brother Picsiwen wrote me, expressing his concern about "the false teachers" on issues such as "eating blood, one covenant, MDR, etc. We will work hard with bro. Rody Gumpad to avoid these errors." He wrote about the same concern on 5-26-98, adding that his "son in law, Glenn Hamilton," would soon arrive for a lectureship with one of these men, "but we will not attend" because Glenn had not taken a clear stand against such men. To this day Glenn continues to work closely with these men. On 12-23-96 brother Picsiwen wrote me a personal letter and enclosed a statement signed by him and 24 other brethren expressing their sorrow over the "slanderous report" of Wallace Little that Rody Gumpad "has left the faith and was fallen from grace." Over half of the statement deals with "the lies of Glenn Hamilton" against Rody. Glenn assures us Emeterio felt he would care for his family, but that is not the point under discussion. Notice the context of my statement about Emerterio lacking confidence in Glenn: "Keep in mind that Hamilton like Little is working in full fellowship with such men as Jim Puterbaugh, Don Wilson, & Jerry Bassett in the Philippines (while professing not to agree with them on such vital doctrinal matters as divorce-remarriage, or with Puterbaught on one covenant, etc.). He speaks of being married to a Filipina but failed to mention that his own father-in-law, who recently died & who is widely respected as a reputable man, did not have confidence in Glenn." While brother Picsiwen referred to these men as "false teachers" (5-27-97), Glenn works hand-in-glove with them. While Glenn joined hands with those charging Rody with corruption, Emeterio, who knew Rody far better than Glenn, grieved over "the lies of Glenn Hamilton" (12-23-96). Because of Glenn's compromises with "these fellows ... destroying our unity and promoting false doctrines," brother Picsiwen refused to attend his lectures in the Tuguegarao area (5-26-98). Glenn besmirches brother Picsiwen's good name by suggesting their disagreement over Rody was due to a debt he owed Rody. The truth is that Rody and Emeterio borrowed from each other at times, in the typically unselfish pattern of Filipino preachers, but his convictions and commitments were not for sale for a few pesos!
15. In a message dated 6-8-99, Glenn told the Wallers concerning the benevolence Jim McDonald and I brought to the Philippines in 1998, "In Mindanao many call it the Great Motorcycle Benevolence because almost all of the preachers suddenly bought motorcycles after Halbrook and McDonald left." He does not say who the "many" are who made this report (why doesn't he give names & addresses so we may contact them?), and he does not name the preachers who bought motorcycles (why doesn't he give names & address so we may contact them?). He needs to document such charges and he needs to prove that someone who bought a motorcycle used money given for benevolence. If he cannot prove such charges, he is simply repeating rumors and gossip (which even he will agree is a typical problem in the Philippines). His 6-11-99 e-mail to Earl Mitchell says he does not remember "the names of all the various preachers who have been accused of buying motorcycles," etc., but if there are so many, it should be all the easier to list a few immediately, and it now appears he refers only to accusations but has no actual evidence. Accusations without hard evidence are gossip.
16. In Glenn's answer of 6-11-99 to Earl Mitchell, he complains I have not asked Jim Puterbaugh for "a private one-on-one discussion." Puterbaugh once believed the truth on MDR, but digressed into error in spite of many studies with competent teachers of the truth, as he revealed in his extensive, taped presentation to members of the N. Livingston Ave. Church of Christ, Lutz, FL in 1992 or 1993. Puterbaugh is an example of 1 Tim. 4:1, which speaks of some who "depart from the faith." He has been privy to the detailed discussion of these issues between Wallace Little & myself beginning in 1992; Little has related Puterbaugh's reactions from time to time. Therefore, in my letter of 8-16-96 to Little I offered to debate Puterbaugh on the following propositions: "The Scriptures teach that two people joined by God in marriage are bound for life, the only exception being that an innocent partner may put away a mate guilty of fornication and remarry" (Halbrook affirm, Puterbaugh deny). "The Scriptures teach that a person who is divorced by his mate for committing fornication is free to marry another" (Puterbaugh affirms, Halbrook denies). I even offered to allow Puterbaugh to affirm his view as follows: "The Scriptures teach that all divorced persons may marry new mates" (Puterbaugh affirm, Halbrook deny). I wrote Puterbaugh directly about these matters on 9-6-96, but have never heard a word from him. Thus, I opened the door for Puterbaugh to say anything he wishes to me about these matters, but he has refused to respond. Actually, he already knows what I can offer to teach on MDR because he taught in the past what I teach now and he is aware of what I have said to Wally since 1992. Likewise, I know what he can offer to teach on MDR because I have listened to hours and hours of his tapes on the subject. Therefore, though I have kept the door open to Puterbaugh, he realizes we cannot tell each other anything on this subject we do not already know. Under these circumstances, evidently he sees we would be foolishly wasting our time in a private study between us. I do not fault him for that. I do believe a public debate is in order for the good of all who could hear our arguments tested in the crucible of debate.
17. Glenn's 6-11-99 post to Mitchell offers Matthew Raymer and Roman Wanasen as witnesses to false claims of the need of benevolence which deceived Jim McDonald and myself into misusing funds. Does this mean these men have made diligent efforts to examine both sides of the alleged false claims before reaching a conclusion? Since Glenn is repeating the charges to which he says these men will testify, has he diligently examined both sides of the alleged false claims of need? If these men believe they have credible evidence, why have they been sitting on it since 1998 and why have they not presented it to Jim McDonald or myself so that we might have an opportunity to investigate their claims? If they have evidence to offer, let them step forward. Glenn hints in advance that there are two sides to the alleged deception, rather than evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, when he says, "Credibility will be the issue. You must choose who you will believe." Glenn also offered several names as witnesses to testify that "many churches divided over how to distribute the benevolence." We were responsible to deliver the funds faithfully (2 Cor. 8:20-21), but we are not responsible for the good or bad decisions of autonomous, independent churches. Do the men Glenn named have credible evidence of wrongdoing by Jim McDonald & Ron Halbrook with regard to the alleged disputes or divisions of churches? If they have evidence to offer, let them step forward. I was with two of the men named (with Neo Aglugub Apr. 8 & with Ian Balbin Apr. 17-19, 1999) & neither of them offered any evidence, comment, or word about such wrong on our part. If we caused such disruption by misusing the funds we delivered into Neo's hands, surely he would have presented us with the evidence & sought correction on our part (I have four receipts signed by Neo). If Glenn's witnesses want to discuss the internal affairs of local churches, Jim McDonald & I do not intrude into such affairs. If they want to testify to evidence of our misusing funds so as to divide churches, let them stand up, step forward, & speak up.
18. In answering Mitchell on 6-11-99, Glenn finally conceded there is still fighting on Mindanao between government & rebel forces. He even manages to concede some people "probably" left their homes, but "probably" only for a night or two, & "maybe" even a few Christians suffered in this way. But, he also surmises, Earl and Ron "perhaps" failed to "ask enough questions" to clarify that it was only for a night or two. Glenn's surmises are empty, void, vain, & null. We asked many detailed questions.. Knowing that many Filipinos face hardships as a way of life, we asked many questions to gauge whether the current hardships were out of the ordinary.. Glenn is simply throwing dust in the air, sowing the seeds of doubt, & attempting to create confusion about our work, like a lawyer without a good case in a courtroom. He simply was not with us and has no factual basis upon which to judge whether we made a thorough investigation. He needs to repent of his "evil surmisings" (1 Tim. 6:4).
19. Glenn's letter of 6-11-99 assures Mitchell the Philippine press is as accurate as the U.S. press (?!?). First, Glenn said the press reported no evacuations because of fighting in Mindanao. When I produced an article, he tried hard to diminish its impact by surmising "perhaps" this & "maybe" that. Second, he says the press has reported no cases of death caused by the harsh conditions suffered by the mountain people this year. Glenn is not aware that we discussed this omission by the press with our brethren in Mindanao, and they pointed out the press is not currently traveling into these mountain areas because of dangers from rebels and renegades. Third, Glenn says the government feeds the hungry during times of crisis, but the press was full of stories when we were there in 1998 about bureaucratic & political boondoggling which prevented the distribution of rice in some of the hardest hit areas. The Philippine government is known to be more corrupt and more mired in inefficiency than even the U.S. government.
20. Glenn sent Mitchell on 6-11-99 two
receipts of benevolence distributed in 1998, purporting to prove our
method of accounting for the funds distributed allows for "no accountability."
Glenn offers three points.
Brethren, feel free to share this material with anyone who has an interest in these matters. If you have questions, do not hesitate to ask..
In Christian love,
[Editor's note: I find it more interesting that people who disagree doctrinally do agree that Rody Gumpad is a crook. Yet a man who owed Rody a lot of money (no proof was given that Rody ever borrowed from Emeterio) and a man who has given Rody a lot of money find nothing wrong with him.]