We never know when our life can change in the blink of the eye, without a reason...
EGREGIOUS INJUSTICE OF LIFE
This is the tragic second anniversary of a profound injustice here in Cebu. I want to share the story hoping it might provide valuable lessons that could prevent others from suffering similarly. If anyone is sympathetic enough to the guy, to help me bail him out after 2 miserable years stuck in a Cebu jail whilst his life has been destroyed, that would be fantastic. If not, I hope at least you will learn from his mistakes... But never aband humanity and kindness.
I became aware of this case a while ago but have now spent A LOT of time doing detailed research, talking in-depth to those involved, verifying what at first seemed a madcap story. Despite initial skepticism, I am now 110% convinced of the truth and sad reality of the story and am willing to put my money where my mouth is and make a substantial contribution. The case involves an employee of a US airline sent to Cebu in 2016 to help their call center operation. He was so moved by the injustice and cruelty meted out to the homeless here that unlike most of us (including me) he resolved to get off his butt and do something about it. Same as he helped orphans and schools in other countries, members of "Feed the Children" Organization and other programs.
Over successive visits from 2016, his plan evolved from pooling his food allowance and those of a few of his colleagues to buy and distribute groceries almost every day to the homeless near their hotel, from the demolished community, encourage kids to attend school, provided school supply and uniforms.
Upon returning home, after 4 month Cebu assignment, he decided to do what in his power to help a group of 5 homeless single-parent families, in most distress, that he would rent and equip basic squatter houses for and sponsor a total of 10 kids through school, assisted with medical and helping parents to establish a small sari-sari business, to provide own basic food needs.
In retrospect it’s obvious he was overstretching himself in his charitable efforts given his modest resources and this put a huge strain on his US marriage. Having learned his “backstory” I think this uber sympathy was inspired by being brought up in small-town Siberia by a determined and all sacrificing deserted mum who managed to put him through college and thus eventually enabled him to make it to the US. Soon after arriving his “friend” stole all his money. After a year or two of surviving on menial jobs and thrown away food, where he learned how it is to be hungry and sleeping in the street, he was eventually able to establish himself. The absence of his own father as he grew up seems to have instilled a determination to “make up” for this by trying his best to the best father to others, feed and help through school poor kids here giving them the chance his own mum had sacrificed so much to give to him. Himself growing up without father, suffering, experiencing hunger, and being homeless with his 10 mo old daughter, he like no others can understand these people.
Those of you here a while may well guess this could go terribly wrong and correctly surmise that the jealousy, greed, corruption, and general insanity we are all too familiar with are key ingredients in the Philippines, especially from a poor community, who can see a foreigner as a quick escape from poverty.
By 2018 he had decided a way to continue funding his project would be to purchase a “rent to buy” townhouse and let it through AirBnB generating an income to fund the kids’ school. He needed to put it in the name of one of the mums. However, rather than selecting the elder lady who saw him as very much her own “golden egg-laying goose”, he selected her younger rival who is more educated, honest, and less conniving. Predictably this left the elder lady in a barely concealed state of apoplectic jealousy and determined to either stop or destroy those she regarded as about to “steal” the once in a lifetime house that in her view should have rightfully been bought for her.
A scheme was hatched to try to blackmail him into putting the proposed house or P1m in her name, and when this failed to file a completely fabricated case against him. This alleges that in the middle of a kid’s birthday party he suddenly, after 2 years of bountiful support for all these people and with more than a dozen people in the house took it on himself to “touch inappropriately” one of the elder woman’s daughters whilst she was in the bath... while mother and other parent was present, total absurd...!
A reasonable person might imagine that with all the other mothers strenuously denying that such an event or any other impropriety had EVER happened (even to the extent in the case of one of having her kids taken away from her unless and until she would testify against him, and sadly they are still in custody), the case would quickly be resolved. Not in Cebu. Here the name of the game is to pin “non-auto-bailable” charges on the foreigner that send him straight to jail stripped of everything save his underpants and leave him to fight his multi-year case from there. The Defense’s arguments/ evidence are generally only presented, if ever, after years in jail and sadly quite a few do not survive that long.
Fortunately, in this case, after almost 2 years of repeatedly postponed hearings, the Judge agreed the evidence against him is weak and granted bail two months ago. Sadly after the largely fictional Cebu media coverage and 2 years of financial waterboarding in jail during which destroyed his family and friendship circle in the US he is completely and utterly broke so has been forced to continue in jail whilst COVID rages there. Luckily, and highly unusually his attorneys have continued to represent him pro bono even after the money ran out as they truly believe in his innocence.
I know some will say how foolish he was to try and help these families and how he should have done things differently etc. I also understand many might read the press and conclude there is “no smoke without fire” as I admit was my own initial suspicion. Having spent many hours listening to the tearful and powerful testimony of those whose lives he has sought to transform as well as his lawyers and some of his past friends, I am convinced of this man’s innocence and “Big Heart”, that bound by humanity.
If there are some among you who also sympathize with his plight, please PM me and I will try to answer any questions you may have and give many more details, and maybe together we can get him out of there.
In order to save and avoid site fees, it will be best to make any donation direct to his mothers or 3-rd party friend.
With any questions, please email to brother or me at