Toronto, Ontario


Tobias Enverga’s Skewed History of Philippine Independence

Editor, Filipino Web Channel

June 28, 2016

“Ignorance is not bad faith. But persistence in ignorance is.” — Joanna Russ

TORONTO – As I write these lines, Filipino community organizations in Greater Toronto Area are not yet done with their celebrations marking the birth on June 12 of a free Philippines.

Since 118 years ago, the day has been observed as what revolutionary General Emilio Aguinaldo had proclaimed in his Kawit, Cavite mansion – the independence of the Philippines from colonial ruler Spain.

It didn’t matter much that it was short-lived, for the Americans soon came, colonized the islands for half a century until July 4, 1946 when the Philippines was freed from US imperialist domination.

Nowhere in the 19th and 20th centuries of Philippine history was there a mention that June 12, 1898 was “the signing of the Philippine Declaration of Independence”. That day has always been the date of the proclamation or declaration of Philippine independence.

But to Tobias Enverga Jr., a member of the unelected Senate of Canada, this year’s June 12, in his own words, “marks the one hundred and eighteen anniversary of the signing (bold mine) of the Philippine Declaration of Independence”.

That’s quite a dramatic uneducated shift as it alters the facts. The “signing” by 98 people had been a fait accompli that preceded the declaration. To say that the “signing” was more important than the proclamation disparages the revolution.

(Full text of speech at:

Such a blunder is unpardonable considering that Enverga is a Filipino first before becoming Canadian. By heart and mind, he should know that it wasn’t the signing that was being commemorated by Filipinos around the world; rather, it was the act of freeing a country and people from more than 300 years of Spanish colonization.

Enverga was not only historically inaccurate, his statement issued early this month and entered into the Senate records was misleading. That statement should not go unnoticed and uncorrected, unless one subscribes to his skewed interpretation of history.

This is not the first time it happened. Last year, he wrongly stated that the Philippine flag “was flown” for the first time on June 12. How can a flag fly without a flagpole to hold it in place? Did it fly on its own, propelled by the afternoon breeze? (Full story at:

Without giving us credit for pointing that historical aberration, Enverga quietly corrected himself in his very latest statement, saying that: “The momentous event . . . also marked the first time that the Philippine flag was officially unfurled . . . ”

I suspect Enverga instructed his staff (by the way, is Gertrude Alvarez aka Gie Alvarez, wife of Enverga henchman Ace Alvarez of Tony Tarungan fame, still there?) to research and confirm if what I had written in 2015 was factually accurate. I bet he did, otherwise the correct version would not have been published. (Full story at:

The notable mistakes Enverga commits every now and then only highlight what I feel is his lack of grounding in Philippine history, and perhaps, Canadian history. (Video at:

In office since September 2012, and enjoying a comfortable life on Canadian taxpayers’ dime, he could have easily enrich his knowledge through a wealth of information available to one in his position.

Instead he embarrasses proud Filipinos like you and I by stating in his maiden speech in the Senate in November 2012 that Filipino Canadians “are known . . . for being the best at karaoke”. Are we that dumb? (Full story at:

Though in my drunken stupor with my brothers I took to an ancient karaoke to entertain our parents in San Diego, California, I truly resent Enverga’s petty assertion. That is the context of how we use karaoke, which is not magnificient enough to be brought to the attention of Canadian senators and the Canadian public as well.

Enverga is almost four years now in his Senate job, but I still don’t see any remarkable improvement from when he supposedly left off as head honcho of the questionable charity he calls Philippine Canadian Charitable Foundation. (Full story at:

His pictures with his wife still dominate online and print publications, as do their attendance in social functions. I have no problem with that. However, I still have to see whether he is essentially fulfilling a mandate as member of the Senate. (Video at:

Of course he does! Just look at this list of accomplishments as of November 2015 – travels to six provinces across Canada, attendance in 200 events and delivering 80 speeches. Whew, that’s a tall order. (Full story at:

(Update, related story at:

The big question in my mind is whether we are better off with Enverga or without him given that he sits in the Senate and draws salaries and benefit in nearly four years now, for what?

Does he truly represent Filipinos of Ontario in the Senate or his Philippine Canadian Charitable Foundation (PCCF) and its money-making arm? Whose interests are paramount to him?

(This Currents & Breaking News may be posted online, broadcast or reprinted upon request by interested parties. Permission by the author or the editor must be obtained before any re-posting online or re-publication in print or re-broadcast. Copyright by Romeo P. Marquez, Editor, Philippine Village Voice, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Volume 10, Issue no. 29, June 28, 2016. Email at:[email protected], or [email protected] Website:

Commentaries in Balita, Toronto’s largest Filipino newspaper: