|Corruption in the Philippines|
Dear Jeff and Ruth,
I will answer as best I can your inquiry about Ronnie Gumpad. I have known Ronnie for many years (almost 8 years now that I count them). Back in 1996, brother Reg Ginn an elder of the Clay St. congregation in Birmingham, Al, and a brother Howard of the Honeysuckle Rd. congregation in Dothaan, Al, asked me to investigate the Gumpad brothers. Brother Howard was sending support to Ronnie, and brother Ginn was sending support to Rody and Ronnie and some other members of his family (I think it was a daughter) and some churches he knew were also helping the three brothers. Both brother Ginn and Howard talked to me extensively before they asked me to go on their behalf. The Clay St. church paid my expenses since at that time I lived in Baguio and all the Gumpads were in Cagayan.
I met Ronnie at his home. I brought a Filipino translator from outside the immediate area so there would be no prejudice. I looked at Ronnie's very nice car , which at that time had a for sale sign in the window. I asked Ronnie many questions about his wotrk and his support. Both brother Ginn and brother Howard told me they were concerned that Ronnie might not be telling them the truth about how much support he received. So I asked Ronnie how many supporters he had then (November 1996). He said "three". I asked him what was the total amount of support he received. He said, "$200". I asked him to specify where the money came from by state. He said, $100 came from Texas, $50 from Mississippi, and $50 from Alabama. I asked him for the name of who sent him support from Alabama. He said, "Dave". So I asked him to think carefully and was he sure the name was "Dave" He said, "Yes, Dave." I then had my translator translate the questions again to be sure he had not misunderstood, but the answers were the same. I then told Ronnie that one of his supporters had sent me and would he please think again and tel me if he overlooked anyone, but he said "No." During our talk and beinng in his neighborhood, I heard the neighbors call him "Pastor Ronnie". When I asked him about it, he just said that was normal. When I asked how he cashed his support checks, he admitted to using the black market (which is, of course, illegal). There was more, but I can't recall the details. I sent a complete report to brother Ginn, so perhaps he has a copy still. Sometime shortly after that I had my hard drive crash and lost a lot of correspondence.
I saw Ronnie again a couple of years ago after Ronnie moved to Baguio City. He came to my house and interrupted a Bible class to accuse my co-teacher, Matthew Raymer, of stealing his support. Matthew did not even know who Ronnie was. After I calmed Ronnie down I asked him what he was talking about. He showed me a letter from brother Howard dated two years earlier (just after I sent out my report on the Gumpad brothers) in which brother Howard said he was stopping his support of Ronnie and if he ever decided to help again he would help the American in Baguio. Ronnie assumed the American was Matthew (the only other American there was myself). I told Ronnie to recall that he did not include brother Howard as one of his supporters when I asked before. I also told him the American referred to was myself, but that I had never received any support or any money from him.
The problem with Ronnie is documentation, which is why so little about him exists on Jeff's website. He claims to preach in Baguio, but I was there from 1994 until 1999 and only heard of trouble he had caused. He did manage to disrupt the work of at least one preacher and get a group of elders angry at another work. But almost nothing is down on paper where you can read it. I would suppose if I were able to get ahold of his reports for the past few years, I could document if he deceived his supporters, but since I do not have that kind of paper trail, I am without the means of finding more information out about him.
I help some of this might be helpful to you. If there is anything else I can do, please contact me.
Yours in Christ,