Thursday, March 06, 2008

A Person Of Interest (aka Suspect)

By RmOlano

In an article Enemies List by WB Tim Bryce, he spoke of the existence of a Masonic version of ”Nixon’s Administrations of (was) maintaining an “Enemies List” of any and all antagonists to the policies of the White House.” He further mentioned that the “activities of the people on the list were closely scrutinized by the administration and when necessary, life was made difficult for them by the administration.” Although the WB admitted his doubt about the existence of the list, he did not claim if he was going to be surprised if such list does turn out to be real. The article engages a familiar incident that may have relevance to the subject. The message of the WB Bryce’s editorial is similar to a recent formal letter received by this writer, which may somehow suggest the possibility of the reality of a list filed under “Person Of Interest (POI).”

The Grand Lodge Secretary’s letter is in behalf of the Grand Lodge of California (GLC) Grand Master’s inquiry concerning the Grand Lodge of the Philippines (GLP) Grand Master (GM) request to investigate the information about the involvement of this writer with the rival Grand Lodge in that country. The Grand Master of all Masons in California wanted that all the facts be made available to him as the GLP GM asserted that the member in question “had been active in supporting the clandestine Grand Lodge in that jurisdiction.”

Being a member of various international and national Masonic discussion groups, which includes non-Masons and Masons under the jurisdiction of various Grand Lodges, Orients of recognized, unrecognized and/or so-called “clandestine,” the possibility of communication not only existed but occurred in regards to exchanging interactions with Masonic topics and interest. The POI however, denied that he physically visited, entered nor sat in a Lodge of “clandestine” Masons regardless if that act is considered as “actively supporting” the rival Grand Lodge.

Furthermore, the Person of Interest admitted the authorship of a number of articles, which were highly critical to GLP because of the expulsion of many regularly made Masons. Six regularly constituted Masonic Lodges, some older than the GLP itself, passed their own Lodge resolutions to form their own Grand Lodge (IGLPI). Instead of dealing with subordinate Lodges, the sitting GLP GM expelled certain members of six Lodges without any trial or appeal. This occurred after a number of Lodges from a different area declared independence and formed their own Masonic governing body calling themselves the United Grand Lodge of the Philippines (UGLP). Despite the public announcement of its separation from GLP, no one was expelled or suspended from UGLP as opposed to IGLPI. This anomaly gave the POI reason to question the apparent unbalanced approach to the issue. His thoughts are well documented in his blog –Letters and Figures and website--- Under the 9th Arch. Also during this time, GLC GM signed a memorandum stating that no Grand Officers from GLP will be admitted to any Lodges under the jurisdiction of GLC without GM’s written approval.

In light of numerous written thoughts shared in various discussion groups, blogsites and websites, it is not surprising to receive positive feedback from friends and members of IGLPI but also to receive barbs, and stones from GLP. This is no different than the pointed responses received from supporters and personal emails from one of the founders of United Grand Lodge of America (UGLA)—Jeff Peace and blog comment exchanges from the Grand Lodge Secretary of Grand Lodge of All England---Peter Clatworthy. In addition, it may be pointed out that both could be described as “irregular” or “clandestine” Masons depending on which definition was used. Moreover, while in this topic, it is noteworthy that according to GGOKCS website, a certain "Jaime Y. Gonzales" was listed as a member of Alpha Class-May01 of “Snakes” which happens to be classified by GLC as a clandestine Masonic formation.

Despite the number of Brethren who communicated with IGLPI via Masonic forums, the POI was somewhat surprised to be the subject of personal inquiry by the Grand Master of GLP at the time when both Grand Lodges were working “on a number of very serious issues pertaining to” both jurisdictions. Although the POI hardly considers himself important enough to be a part of “very serious issues,” the query caused the writer to look back on what could cause the Filipino GM to recall such an insignificant name.

Few years back while researching for Masonic articles he was writing, the POI stumbled on an entry to the Grand Lodge of Arizona’s webpage, where the GLP Grand Senior Warden posted that he would be elected as Deputy GM the following year. The writer commented in a Filipino Masons’ discussion group regarding this presumptuous remark that the point is about an election process and not about the person who made the comment. Nevertheless, the topic touched a few raw nerves from GLP members, inciting a hosting of a “Jubelum Welcome Party” in San Diego for the writer. A Past Grand Officer of GLP promised to forward the comments to the elected DGM—who is currently the GM of GLP.

After a two-year span of trying to find the whereabouts of his GLP dues card/membership ID, the POI tendered his resignation/demit from his mother Lodge last year. The callous reply via a third party to just pay and wait for the card and another empty promise were the kind of responses/lack thereof is an example of why GLC GM banned the GLP GM and any of his Grand Officers from visiting Lodges in California last year. It was fascinating to read the email forwarded by a San Diego-based Brother in which then-GLP DGM (current GLP GM) blamed Filipino Masons in the US for starting the issue, causing the non-admission of GLP officers in California without GLC GM’s written permission.

Taking advantage of the ongoing dialog between Grand Lodges, the POI requested the GLC Grand Master to ask the GLP GM to prevent members of GLP to access official GLP Records and stop publishing name, date of birth, home address, and telephone numbers including posting those information in Internet discussion groups citing official GLP records as the source. Such postings are violation of privacy and a possible source of identity theft. An email to the discussion group owners was sent to protest this breach of personal information policy. The POI made it clear to a GLP Past Grand Lodge Inspector that should the POI’s family receive unsolicited/crank emails or phone calls at his California residence, the POI would hold the PGLI as personally responsible.

Aside from a possible “Enemies List” or the milder “Person Of Interest” list, one thing that stands out is the fact that there are people who do not want to be questioned or be criticized because they believe in “benevolent dictatorship.” As the POI wrote in one of his articles--- “Freemasonry is not a dictatorial institution, therefore, no one has an absolute power and that includes the Grand Master. The day when a mere mortal start thinking of himself as a monarch of the Fraternity and the time when members accept that illusion – the organization they are in is no longer the Craft we knew. Only those with interior motives will allow that to happen and hoodwinked fools to continue to stay.” One can easily end up on a list because of the belief that, "Words are manifestation of our inner thoughts, once released it can not be taken back. Unless certain, it is wiser to keep it rather than making a noise otherwise, take ownership of your words--- spoken or written."

If a Person Of Interest can be a part of a list, it is then possible for us to allow him to wear it as a symbol. As the WB Tim Bryce’s wrote in Enemies List article, “I would probably consider it an Honor Roll of Masons, a sort of Red Badge of Courage for speaking from the heart and trying to improve the status quo… After all, we should be acting more like Masons than like the Mafia.”


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