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Dec 04th
Home Sections NaFFAAgate A "Love Letter" to Apo Ernie and Other Fil-Am Leaders About Dr. Noel Chua and Filipino Defendants
A "Love Letter" to Apo Ernie and Other Fil-Am Leaders About Dr. Noel Chua and Filipino Defendants PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - NaFFAAgate
Sunday, 21 October 2007 05:21

The following is a reproduction of this writer's comments sent to Mr. Ernesto Gange of Philadelphia, PA. Mr. Gange is the chairman of the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA). He used to be a member of the Board of Trustees of the Pearl S. Buck Foundation. The "Rozita V. Lee" mentioned in this dialogue refers to Ms. Lee, the national vice chairperson of the NaFFAA and chair of the NaFFAA chapter in Southern Nevada. This writer met with Ms. Rozita during the "Bayanihan sa Amerika" conference in Los Angeles, California, on Oct. 7, 2007. In front of Philippine Consul General Mary Jo Bernardo Aragon, this writer said that the Nevada NaFFAA leader's surname should be the slogan for Filipino-American unity. The slogan, I said, is: "Leeconciliation."

Here is the posting:

Dear Apo Ernie:

1.0 With due respect to you, it may be false generalization to say that a Filipino, or for that matter, any colored American, would never get justice in the South. It is no longer the 1960s and the barriers of segregation and racial discrimination have been torn down by civil-rights advocacy groups like the NAACP, the Department of Justice and the blood, sweat and tears of Americans (both white and colored) who stood up for human rights.

2.0 RE: The case of Dr. Chua. The fact that he took in the victim as a companion in his (Chua's) residence made him look so vulnerable to the jury (in fact, any jury). How many physicians would befriend patients, travel with them to New York and let them live in their house? It is presumed that Dr. Chua's lawyers would file an appeal, that is, if Dr. Chua still has the resources to mount an expensive court battle in the appellate court, or even all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

3.0 RE: Prayers of Fil-Am Community Leaders for Filipino Criminal Defendants in the U.S.A. I wish to suggest respectfully that our community leaders, especially those from the NaFFAA National, should not shed tears over "sad news" of Fil-Am defendants getting convicted in the criminal court of justice. They may appear to be "crocodile tears," if not hypocritical conduct.

        3.1 The NaFFAA leaders should not look far. One of its former national executive officers (NEOs), Ben Menor, is facing civil and criminal charges. Mr. Menor's criminal case goes to trial on Dec. 3, 2007. You can read more about the Menor trials in these links:


        3.2 The sad matter about the legal troubles of Mr. Menor is the fact that part of the People's allegations involve the diversion of city funds to bankroll the 2002 NaFFAA national convention in San Jose, CA, in August 2002. Another sad news is that Mr. Menor has no money to hire a private criminal lawyer and he is being represented by a Public Defender. Filipino-American lawyers like Rodel Rodis (who lives close by and a former NaFFAA NEO himself and present NaFFAA regional chair) have not volunteered their services.

        3.3 Filipino-American defendants need not only tears of support and prayers but also a legal-defense mechanism. I have long written about the need to organize a Filipino version of the "Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Foundation (MALDEF)" but even the Philippine-American Bar Association chapter of Los Angeles did not answer my formal proposal that I delivered personally to several of their officers in 1994 (1-9-9-4).

              3.3.1 Perhaps if the Fil-Am version of the MALDEF was organized in 1994, then the first Filipino to face capital punishment in the State of Nevada in the late 1990s could have been spared the Death Chamber. The Filipino defendant had a very low IQ and his public defender did not raise the issue. I worked then with the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles in trying to persuade the Nevada governor to commute the death sentence but we failed.

As a journalist, I can only write what Fil-Am community leaders ought to be doing. To use a favorite metaphorical line that I have been using, "While my writings can perhaps lead our people to the river, I cannot force them to drink the water." We writers can only do so much with the little in resources that we have.

And speaking of the 1960s civil-rights movement, I paraphrased a line in Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. I wrote in 1994, "History may judge Filipino Americans by the color of their tuxedo or party gowns, rather than by the context of their character." It is high time to turn Filipino social events like dinners and balls into economic-based advocacy and activism.


Bobby M. Reyes


and Still the Nemesis Numero Uno of the Corrupt NaFFAA NEOs

In a message dated 10/20/2007 10:44:23 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time, Ernesto1gange writes:
Dear Rozita:
A Filipino will never get justice in the South.
I suggested that the Legal Counsel should appeal the case.
This verdict is too cruel, besides, Dr. Chua has no previous conviction.


-----Original Message-----
From: RozitaLee
To: Ernesto1gange <<Snipped>> Sent: Sun, 21 Oct 2007 1:33 am
Subject: Re: Dr. Chua found guilty!

Dear Friends,

This is a sad day indeed when news came of the Jury's verdict.
We continue to pray for Dr. Chua and his family and see what his attorney plans to do re: appeal, etc.

Rozita V. Lee

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If a man will begin with certainties,he shall end with doubts;but if he will be content to begin with doubts,he shall end in certainties.-- Sir Francis Bacon, 1561-1626