Francisco “Jojo” Quimpo is getting a fair bit of attention lately.
It’s not that the former long-time downtown Vancouver paralegal is unaccustomed to this. He’s well known in the Filipino-Canadian community. He organizes cultural festivals, and he is a musical performer.
But given the 40-something man’s present plan, the attention he’s been attracting recently isn’t likely the type someone in his situation wishes.
Quimpo wants to be a nominated as the Conservative Party of Canada’s candidate in Vancouver Kingsway for next year’s federal election.
However, his critics are raising questions about his stated academic credentials.
On May 31, urban designer and photographer Bert Morelos wrote Conservative party officials about these concerns after failing to get Quimpo to respond to him.
The letter was addressed to Dean Trinh, president of the Conservative party association in Vancouver Kingsway, and John Walsh, national president.
In the letter, Morelos noted that based on LinkedIn and Facebook postings, it would appear that Quimpo was attending two different postsecondary programs—law in Manila and paralegal in West Vancouver—at the same time at one point.
Morelos also told Conservative party officials that Quimpo had claimed to have taken up an engineering program at a branch of a Philippine university that doesn’t offer such degree.
In an interview, Morelos said his letter was co-signed by at least 70 other members of the Filipino-Canadian community belonging to different political persuasions.
“If he knows that he has padded his credentials, the best thing for him to do is pull out his nomination bid,” Morelos told the Straight by phone on June 2.
According to Morelos, the Conservative party should look into Quimpo’s credentials as well.
“Mr. Quimpo is not an asset,” Morelos said in the interview. “He’s a liability to his party.”
Quimpo maintains that the inconsistencies were inadvertent errors.
According to Quimpo, he brought back from his recent travel to the Philippines school documents that will settle questions about his credentials.
“Hopefully, it would be clarified,” Quimpo told the Straight by phone on June 3.
He maintained that there was no deliberate misrepresentation. He recalled that he immigrated to Canada in 1996 as a young adult.
According to Quimpo, he attended Capilano University for his paralegal studies between 2000 and 2001. He said that his studies in the Philippines terminated in 1996 shortly before moving to Canada.
He admitted that at first, he was apprehensive that questions about him would affect his sign-up drive for the nomination. But according to him, that didn’t turn out to be the case.
“When I talk to people, they keep on telling me, like, 'You know what? You’re doing the right thing,'” Quimpo said.
Is this a simple case of misunderstanding that can be settled by an old-fashioned sit-down between two Canadians who are both proud of their Filipino roots?
“I think this can be resolved, but he has to admit that he made a mistake,” Morelos said in a follow-up phone interview on June 3.
Quimpo said: “We’re planning to talk.”