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Apr 05th
Home Columns San Diego Happenings Romy Marquez’s Immigration Hearing on Dec. 3 and His NaFFAA-COPAO Foes Are Celebrating Prematurely
Romy Marquez’s Immigration Hearing on Dec. 3 and His NaFFAA-COPAO Foes Are Celebrating Prematurely PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - San Diego Happenings
Wednesday, 28 November 2007 01:58

Romy Marquez’s Immigration Hearing on Dec. 3 and His NaFFAA-COPAO Foes Are Celebrating Prematurely the "End" of His Reporting Their Financial Scams

The News UpFront: (TOP STORY) as of Wednesday, November 28, 2007


One of the most-awaited news events – or so it seems – in San Diego's Filipino community is set to take place on Monday, December 3. That's the date your reporter (Romy Marquez) will appear before an immigration judge in downtown. His known and sworn enemies have petitioned government authorities "to exterminate" him, ostensibly to stop him from further exposing the scandals and the established crooks. 




What Will Be Will Be


Editor’s Note: Mr. Marquez is a member of the Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) and National Press Club of the Philippines-USA.


Two years ago in mid-December, three ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents walked into my apartment and took me in on a warrant of arrest for my failure to attend a court hearing and present my position on a government petition to rescind my green card.

Months prior to that date in 2005, I had written a number of stories involving social and political personalities, including a harebrained sexual partner who had run for public office, School Board member Mitz S. Lee and some top officials of the scandal-ridden Council of Philippine American Organizations (COPAO).

News of my early morning arrest spread quickly by mouth, I was to learn later. Expectedly, my adversaries in the Filipino community wasted no time in celebrating what they had thought would be the end of more than 10 years of investigative journalism that I had started since coming to San Diego in 1993.

After two days and two nights in what turned out to be a rewarding educational and journalistic experience at the San Diego Correctional Facility in Otay Mesa near the US-Mexico border, my family bailed me out.

On December 16, a Friday, past 8 p.m., I was out in downtown San Diego helping an Iraqi man get a taxi for his journey home in a Chaldean community in El Cajon City. We had just emerged from the main immigration office at the federal building on Front St.

It felt good to be free again. The night was chilly but I didn't feel the cold under my pineapple fiber barong Tagalog, the same dress shirt that I had specially requested to wear when I was taken into custody. Now, I donned it again, out and free. I looked incongruous in the evening crowd of jacket-clad shoppers near Horton Plaza on Broadway.

My brothers soon came and drove me back to my apartment. Shortly after, I sent an email telling friends that my incarceration had been shortlived. As rumors went, many had thought that I had been brought to Los Angeles and taken to a plane on the way to the Philippines.

"I'm back firmer, stronger, bolder," I announced, making sure the brief missive went out within the same Dec. 16 timeline. Once I confirmed it in another email, I went to bed.

The next day, Saturday, the entertainment paper Filipino Press bannered the story of my arrest in its Dec. 17-23, 2005, issue. For the first time in my professional life, my colored picture was on the front page accompanying the story.

The equation had dramatically changed. Suddenly, I was the news, not the news reporter that I've always been.

I would have had no problem being reported so long as the story was accurate, fair, balanced, and I was afforded the chance to do a rebuttal.

But as in many instances in the past, the Filipino Press could not get its facts straight. Compounding that problem was the lack of legitimate reporters and editors who were at least knowledgeable.

For those reasons alone, the paper could not be trusted with reporting breaking events as accurately and truthfully as they should. I knew it and that was my main concern. I knew I would be victimized a second, even a third time, by irresponsible writers.

Granting the Filipino Press knew journalism at its most basic, I would still worry because the paper is also a clumsy propaganda machine. I mean it's neither fair nor balanced in news reporting. It espouses convenience rather than principle.

In its present form, also take a look at its chameleon-like "associate editor" so called, the Kodak-moment-loving Aurora Cudal, epitome of overlapping and conflicting interests.

Not satisfied with her picture in the inside page, she also wanted to be in the news pages, if not in the Filipino Press, in the other competing papers as blah blah blah of Kalusugan Community Services, or of COPAO, or of other organizations.

The Filipino Press had reported that I was "arrested x x x on multiple counts of criminal and immigration charges" without citing any official or unofficial source for such a sweeping indictment. The article was so hollow that it could not provide any details of what those charges were.

Of course, the paper or the writer could not, would not, because it was a big lie! The story was not only erroneous, it was a pure fabrication by the fantastic minds of a greenhorn reporter named Doris Enriquez-Malabad and her equally fledgling publisher Susan de los Santos.

All the years that I worked in Manila dailies as staff reporter and later as foreign correspondent with the Asahi Shimbun and the Deutsche Presse-Agentur, and then in the United States, I have never been charged with anything that came close to a criminal activity, let alone "multiple counts of criminal and immigration charges".

I had asked that the story be retracted and corrected but De los Santos, instead of publishing my demand letter, replied that I should point out the mistakes, presumably to allow her to correct the offending story.

That was ludicrous. They obviously didn't know what they were doing. My thought was that it was enough for me to claim the story was wrong and then deny the alleged criminal infraction because there was none in the first place.

The retraction was never made nor my letter published up to this day. Enriquez-Malabad, meanwhile, quit the paper and put up her own 12-page tabloid, which looks like a collection of the most irrelevant information about anything anywhere in the US and wherever.

When my arrest was reported, De los Santos had been publisher for only a couple of months. And that was after her domestic partner Ernie Flores, the paper's publisher and editor, had succumbed to a heart attack in January 2005. She knew marketing and ad solicitation but not the editorial aspects of the paper. That might have changed, however, in the last several months.

Enriquez-Malabad was no good, either. She wrote and wrote carelessly, ignorantly. I suspected she was enchanted by the sound of the phrase "multiple counts" -- whatever that signified to her -- without even knowing its meaning. The same kind of sloppy writing inhabits her paper.

If it's any consolation, however, there's a newborn tabloid that distinguishes it from Enriquez-Malabad's. This one is the lowest in the rung and is supposed to be published and edited by an unlettered team notorious for its lack of decency.

I assume, based on my past experience, that the Filipino Press, the paper of Enriquez-Malabad, the new entrant to the media and others, would have a field day reporting about me come Monday, December 3. That's the date I will appear before an Immigration judge in downtown San Diego.

A group composed mostly of whiners and people I have exposed for a variety of mischief has already submitted a letter to an official of the local Immigration office begging the government "to exterminate" me. I don't know how that would go.

I am sure that those who have an axe to grind will show up just to highlight how much they detest me.

In a hearing in August 2006 that ended being postponed, a crowd enthusiastic to see me deported showed up one by one, namely: the bald and rotund factotum named Bill Flores; the crooner Nita Barrion; the doubles player Precy Garrovillas alias Purry Garovillar; the former COPAO president when $27,000 disappeared, Aurora Cudal; the kibitzer and photographer Manny Ramirez; the accidental publisher Susan de los Santos; an alter ego in Mabuhay Alliance named Kim White and another who already died. 

I presume people will be there too, like San Diego's ABC (not the broadcast giant but the initials of COPAO and Mabuhay Alliance officials Rita Andrews, Faith Bautista and Cudal), the self-described "publishing morass" Rudy Liporada;  the newspaper and money thieves and many others.

That's the beauty of this country. People can try their tomfooleries and make them look like genuine concerns.


PHILIPPINE VILLAGE VOICE - Redefining Community News

BREAKING NEWS -  Commentary

Issue No. 92 / News Without Fear or Favor /
. . . . . A community service of San Diego's Philippine Village Voice ( or at 619.265.0611) for the information and better understanding of the public. . . . . .


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Last Updated on Thursday, 29 November 2007 02:23

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