Prominent Filipino New Yorker arrested for stealing from cancer foundation

Filipino-American community leader Rene Ballenas was arrested early last week on charges of burglary and grand larceny after being caught on video taking more than USD7,000 worth of items that were to be auctioned off for the benefit of sick children. According to investigators, the items Ballenas allegedly took were likely to be ultimately destined for the Philippines to be sold for cash.

In a 23rd September 2012 article published on, Ballenas was profiled as “an accomplished leader with a Passion for Community Service [who] has built extensive relationships with Philippine American organizations in the US and in the Philippines through his dedicated involvement and various capacities as Officer and memberships in different socio-civic and religious organizations both local and international.” He was also reported as being employed as a “Risk Administrator” at the New York Presbyterian Hospital, though following the breaking of the news of his arrest, it seems to have been established that he provided no more than clerical duties to his employer.

Ballenas is accused of taking more than $7,000 worth of valuables from the Children’s Cancer and Blood Foundation offices on East 38th Street.

A worker there told police she saw surveillance video of Ballenas going into locked rooms and storage areas that belonged to the charity when the office was closed. The complaint said he stole iPads, a purse, shirts, printer equipment and bottles of wine.

The charity said Ballenas was not allowed on its premises off hours.

Ballenas served from 2009 to 2010 as Treasurer of the Philippine Independence Day Council, Inc. (PIDCI) and was once a member of its Board of Directors. He mounted a bid for the presidency of the PIDCI under the “Team United” banner in 2011 but lost. In what looks to be a reflection of the broader character of politics in his native homeland, Ballenas reportedly threatened to launch a “breakaway bloc” after losing that election to continue to pursue introduction of the “reforms” on the organisation promised during his campaign. Along with his bloc members Greg Agulan, Nida Cortez, Pancho Bernaldez and Luis Pedron, Ballenas envisioned “a Filipino community that has a voice in all aspects of the Tri-State Areas.”

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On its official website, the PIDCI through its current President Fe Martinez, is described as “the organization of organizations that plans, organizes, produces, executes, manages directs and presents the annual commemoration of Philippine Independence to the Filipino and Filipino-American and the mainstream community.”

Together with the Filipino American community, the Philippine Consulate General in New York created the Philippine Independence Day Committee (PIDC) to commemorate the birth of Philippine Independence.

Established in 1990 during Consul General Hermenegildo Garcia’s term, PIDC was an ad hoc committee with a life cycle of one year. All consuls general would later become honorary overall chairperson. The position of overall chairperson was elected every year. The winner in the election then appointed the rest of her/his executive committee. In 2003, the PIDC was incorporated creating the PIDCI which is no longer under the direct management of the Philippine Consulate in New York.

[NB: Parts of this article were lifted from the article “Philippine Independence Day Parade” in a manner compliant to the terms stipulated in the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License that governs usage of content made available in this site.]

19 Replies to “Prominent Filipino New Yorker arrested for stealing from cancer foundation”

  1. I can see the headlines now at Balitang K… “Bida nanaman ang Pinoy sa US!” Together with that pinoy mom from Texas who glued the hands of her 2 yr old daughter to the wall. Perfect skit for Showtime!

  2. Like I said before Da Penoy carry his culture of magnanakaw where ever he is, it’s in his DNA. As for the hyphenated Americans, that is the result of their confusion on latching on an identity they should have known better or it is simply nasa ‘Tate na torpe parin.

  3. Just another reinforcement of the view some other countries have. Filipinos cheating and stealing even in other countries, because in their own homeland, they’re poor. Reminds me again of that case where Filipinos were banned from a certain grocery in Hong Kong. All because the shoplifters caught each time were Filipinos. There’s really an attitude problem with people of our country in general.

  4. A classic sleaze-bag,if it is true.After all,it was a filipina who supposedly ‘saw’ him on the video,no? Crab-mentality being what it is,it would not surprise me if it is some sort of set-up.IF not,it is another severe ‘black-eye’ to all other hard-working Filipino/a’s working outside the Philippines.Public opinion of Filipino’s in S.E.Asia is very low,why I don’t know,but in the West it not as tarnished as that of its countries politicians who are opined Internationally to be among the sleaziest the world has to offer.
    This article suggests at first that he is a pillar of the Pinoy community abroad and then goes to the other extreme and presents him as no more than a janitor.What is up w/that? Really,it seems like ‘dats dat bull-shit,right there.’.

  5. MOST Filipinos suck! (OK I said Most but not all). And their country is lawless; it’s full of good laws but there is a problem in implementing it. If you’re rich and powerful you have an edge.

    And F***! Mental and environmental trash almost everywhere! And their venality is ABSOLUTE. The Philippines is an ocean of superstitious, racist, brainwashed, indifferent, egoistic, apathetic, unthinking, hypocritical crabs. Sugar-coated on the outside, full of shit inside!

    This is true for most Filipinos but not all, specially the ones who accept the negatives of their culture and try to think of doing a paradigm shift instead of getting hurt and blasting those who criticize.

    I bet Filipinos are getting angry reading this instead of reflecting and working for a change.

    Get real and grow up Filipinos

    1. Hate to agree with you, but for the most part you are correct. There are many, many good people there, but also lots of scumbags users. If you are White, you have ATM written on your forehead and there are two prices for everything,filipino price and foreigner price.
      Pinay I have met in the USA still have the same mentality as there, bunch of Users and Conniving Bitches. Pinoy here think their shit don’t stink although most of them are hard workers so that they can support the Philippine Govt. aka their families sending money and BB’s home.

  6. This is a very sad ‘minus’ to the serious efforts of other Filipinos who are doing their best to show the good side of Filipino workers.

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