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Mar 28th
Home Sections Health and Medicine Desperately Seeking "SUE-shine" (sic) Attorney
Desperately Seeking "SUE-shine" (sic) Attorney PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Health and Medicine
Saturday, 06 October 2007 07:54

Part 8 of "Should We Do Desperate Moves About the Supposed "Desperate Housewives" Slur on RP's Med Schools?"

Pundit Nat John Duenas of Redwood City, (Northern) California, provided this writer with a CC of a dialogue among some Filipino-American physicians, Atty. Rodel Rodis (of all people) and himself. The dialogue is about the feasibility of suing the ABC TV Network about the "Desperate Housewives" episode that angered many Overseas Filipinos and even Filipinos in the homeland. Incidentally, even some Filipino congressman and senators have spoken publicly about the supposed slur that happened in this American soap opera, which is actually more of a comedy series.


Remember that movie, "Desperately Seeking Susan?" Well, we can now come up with its Filipino-American version involving a "SUE-shine" (sic) attorney, who may need to sue in order to shine (?) again as a supposed Filipino-American community leader. This was of course, after the attorney is sued successfully by a Filipino-American for legal malpractice and has been ordered by the Superior Court to pay more than $300,000 in damages. The attorney appealed the Superior Court ruling and in the meantime has declared personal bankruptcy. The same attorney also has been called online in numerous occasions as a "crook" for refusing to account publicly for the collection of convention-registration fees paid by delegates and other convention incomes resulting from a national convention in San Jose, California, held in August 2002.

Here is the e-mail of Mr. Duenas:


Any TV show has sponsors and these are the ones paying for the 'ratings' and are sensitive to public opinion.

The producers and the network of ABC and owners Disney are just the capitalist.

Let us focus the class lawsuit to include the show sponsors where it really hurts.

The 'medical groups' must unite and commission a contingency lawyer. You can forget about Rodel and NaFFAA and their political game. They have no real stake on this issue anyway except for the upcoming election purposes.

More medical practitioner testimonies will be more credible in court and the jury system. (The) NaFFAA claim to represent all Fil-Am organizations is not valid since it has not a single institutional member but just individual members who cannot be legally considered as a federation of Fil-Am associations. NaFFAA is also notorious for its non-transparency and non-accountability. Imagine Ben Menor is also jousting while he had been through a scandal in San Jose.

I take back my recommending Rodel after hearing his statement and his bringing NaFFAA as the lead organization. I believe the lead organization has to come from the medical profession where the actual damages are caused. Those damages after the incident and other potential future implications are more credible in court that what a 'political group' can present regardless of the sympathetic response from the 'manifesto' or write-in petition.

The various medical associations and the Philippine-educated US medical practitioners and the Beautiful Heart Foundation are direct victims of this incident.

I am CCing Bobby Reyes in L.A. since they are in closer proximity to the action and he has experience dealing with NaFFAA and has direct linked to the Southern California Medical groups plus the is networked nationwide.


* * *

Here is what Dr. Philip S. Chua replied to a Mr. Tolentino:


Mr. Tolentino-

You are entitled to your opinion. With the DH slur that maligned our people and our country, majority of us find it hard to ignore the insult. If someone calls an Afro-American a "nigger," what do you think will happen? And that's only the color of the skin. In our case, what was attacked was the image, honor and integrity of the Filipinos and of our country.

There is nothing in the First Amendment Rights that says any person may malign anyone with a slur, etc. The freedom of speech guarantees the right to speak the truth, not to say disparaging words against a person, a profession, a people or a nation.

And why do you think the Walt Disney/ABC network group declared a public apology? If that company finally realized, admitted publicly, and openly apologized for that "slur," it suggests to me that the "culprit" itself has owned up to that deplorable mistake. And who are you to say that network did not err, and have first-amendment right?

If a slur or insult is hurled at you, your wife, or your children, you have every right to interpret it anyway you like, and even consider it not important, ignore them, and "lighten up," as you suggested to us. And I will be the first one to defend your right (although I do not agree with you) to do as you please, because that is your right. And I am sure the entire Filipino community will respect your inaction.

Since the Filipinos have been "repeat victims" of this type of insults in the past, we are now are saying enough is enough. And this fight is not about money, Mr. Tolentino. No amount of money can "buy" our image, honor and integrity as a people and as a nation.

You are entitled to your opinion, and I respect that.

Best wishes and God bless.


Philip S. Chua, M.D.
Filipino United Network (USA)


Art Tolentino wrote to Dr. Boy Abay on Oct. 5, 2007:


I don't think you'll get anything out of this. Their right to say what they said is protected under the First Amendment.  Making fun of another country's education system is not racist or discriminatory as defined by Civil Rights Act Title VII.  This is not slander because the defense for slander is the truth. The (script) writer can claim he is referring to something he read somewhere about Philippine diploma mills. You cannot prove damages to your careers because you guys are some of the best and highest-paid doctors in America. 

If a (Filipino-American) doctor somewhere can prove he got fired or his patients left him because of the "Desperate Housewife" remark, a jury may award him some monetary restitution.  I doubt it. Lighten up. Give it a rest.

Dr. Abay wrote:


It is not about money as you know.

It is very painful to see Filipinos drooling over money, and already posturing and planning what to do with it, over this.

But we understand you do not work for free either, unless you are volunteering your services for free. If we can prove damage and injury to people's reputations and practices resulted from this, damages can be claimed. Then again, I am no lawyer. Precisely why, we rely on you.

In a contingency, in a case like this, we the client shoulder cost, which is then deducted from any percentage you require for your services should monies be awarded. If you cannot work on a contingency basis, may we ask then, what your fee schedule is and how much undertaking this case would cost?

Perhaps We should have a contract before we proceed.

It is best that we know ahead of time, before we commit and plunge into this any further, to avoid ill feelings and misunderstanding in the future.

Please call me Boy. Everyone from the Philippines that I know do. However, I promise to address you "Mr. Rodis" when appropriate, (always if you so desire, simply indicate your preference.)

Thank you.

Boy Abay

-----Original Message-----
To: Abay@com
Sent: Fri, 5 Oct 2007 2:46 am
Subject: Re: ABC, Desperate HW, and FilAm Physicians

Dear Dr. Abay,

Yes. In fact, we are preparing such a lawsuit. I don't believe we will win any money so a contingency would be folly. The purpose of such a suit would be to expose ABC for its bigotry and to hopefully obtain some promise that ABC will not do it again and will educate its scriptwriters to show more respect for Filipinos and the Philippine educational system. I will keep you informed about the progress of our research.


In a message dated 10/4/2007 8:07:41 PM Pacific Daylight Time, Dr. Abay writes:

Hello Rodel,

FilAm physicians are up in arms after that malicious humor degrading Philippine medical schools and their graduates in ABC's "Desperate Housewives" on September 30.

After a storm of Emails and letters, ABC responded with a paragraph of "apology," hardly an expression of remorse or healing for those insulted and degraded in national and international television.

Similar racial slurs occurred with Arsenio Hall and Joan Rivers in the past, after a similar barrage of mails of protest and uproar, a token "apology, that is it and by the way here is more."

Graduates of Philippine medical schools are among the most-successful practitioners in medicine and the specialties in the US and throughout the world. Many hold professorial and faculty positions in US medical schools and leadership positions in medical organizations and elsewhere.

They have been publicly humiliated, their reputations tarnished, and damaged. With scheduled rebroadcasts and DVDs of the same episodes in the US and international markets, the injury will be repeated and dug deeper over and over.

Needless to say, unless we put a serious stop to this abuse, the Filipino physicians, anything of Filipino, and our motherland the Philippines will continue to be objects of ridicule by the US media, and who knows, elsewhere.

Dr. Philip Chua has indicated he has initiated contact with you. I am writing on behalf of all FilAm physicians in the US and everywhere in the world. Knowing you, our past struggles against a repressive Marcos regime, you must understand our predicament.

A multimillion dollar lawsuit for public defamation and damages is in order.

Would you (and your partners if you have a group) take the case on a contingency basis?

This is the only way I believe we can compel ABC to make a high-profile apology to the Filipino community before the same US and international audience the Desperate HW episode was broadcast, and delete the derogatory scene and statement before further broadcast and sale of DVDs of the same episode.

This is the only way we can categorically send the message to the US and international media, that Filipinos will tolerate none of this racial and malicious public ridicule and insult.

1) Perhaps, a demand letter asking for no less than all of the above plus lawyers' cost and fees, with a definite deadline for fulfillment to our satisfaction.

2) If the deadline is not met, or the restitution made short of our demands, we file suit requesting for a jury trial. Copy of the episode is available from "You Tube" as you know.

The best scenario perhaps is: ABC accedes and give in.

The worst scenario might be: We go to trial. In which case we have a great cause to fight for, and an obvious evidentiary case, the wrongdoing of which they have already admitted by their public "apology."

I am, as many of our co-Filipinos offended and injured, are ready and prepared to see this through.

Please tell us what we need to do.

Regards and God Bless!

Eustaquio O Abay II, MD, FACS

(To be continued . . .)

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Last Updated on Monday, 15 October 2007 02:03

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