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Sep 29th
Home Sections Politics Filipino Magna-cum-laude Harvard Graduate Cum Poster Boy for the Failed DREAM Act Now Faces Deportation
Filipino Magna-cum-laude Harvard Graduate Cum Poster Boy for the Failed DREAM Act Now Faces Deportation PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Politics
Written by Bobby M. Reyes   
Sunday, 19 December 2010 10:47




Non-Filipino Lawyers Did Not Handle Right the Poster Boy’s Family Petition for Political Asylum But His Case Is Another Argument for a “Phil-Am Legal Defense and Educational Foundation” (PALDEF)


We're not going to pass the DREAM Act or any other legalization program until we secure our borders. It will never be done as a stand-alone. It has to be part of comprehensive immigration reform – Sen.  Lindsey Graham


T hus, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told "the bill's youthful supporters that they were wasting their time trying to persuade Republicans to support the DREAM bill absent a greater commitment to securing the U.S. border with Mexico.” The United States Senate failed to pass the DREAM Act.


The Los Angeles Times has a story about Senator Graham’s comments and more, which it headlined Dream Act's failure in Senate derails immigration agenda . It is written by Lisa Mascaro and James Oliphant of the Los Angeles Times Washington Bureau.



M ark Farrales, a 31-year-old Filipino overstaying alien in
San Diego County, California, may yet become the poster boy of the intended beneficiaries of the DREAM Act. The Los Angeles Times tells in today’s Sunday Times the predicament of Mark Farrales, a high-school valedictorian in Belmont High School in Los Angeles, a magna-cum-laude graduate from Harvard University with a degree in government and a master’s degree from the University of California’s San Diego campus, where he is pursuing a doctorate. To read more about the plight of Mark Farrales, please read Stephen Ceasar’s article, UC San Diego grad student scrambling to avoid deportation




Another Argument for the PALDEF and the Case of the Filipino Death Convict in Nevada

S tephen Ceasar reports that Mark Farrales may be a victim of bad legal advice from his non-Filipino attorneys in California.


It is true that American lawyers of Filipino descent have formed the Philippine-American Bar Association of Southern California (PABASC). But the Filipino-American lawyers should have done more in providing legal services to their brethren such as Mark Farrales and other legal causes in the community.


In 1994, this writer wrote to the officers of the PABASC and suggested to them to organize a “Philippine-American Legal Defense and Educational Foundation (PALDEF).” The “PALDEF” (so named for want of a better name) was suggested to be patterned after the highly-successful “Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Foundation (MALDEF).” This was after I learned of a Filipino immigrant who was facing capital punishment for committing allegedly two murders in Nevada. The Filipino immigrant could not afford a lawyer and a public defender represented him.


In 2000, I sent the same suggestion to the National Federation of Filipino-American Associations (NaFFAA), which was cofounded by several Filipino-American lawyers like Rodel Rodis and Loida Nicolas-Lewis. My suggestion fell on deaf ears – as many of the Filipino-American lawyers practiced only in the fields of immigration and personal-injury (resulting from car accidents). And of course, the controlling clique of the NaFFAA chose only to involve itself in money-making ventures that its members could pocket and not in providing basic services to the constituents.


Later I even proposed the PALDEF concept to a Jewish-American lawyer, who was married to a Filipino woman. You can read about it in Remembering Bernie Lehrer  but unfortunately Atty. Lehrer died before he could act on my proposal.


This writer actually started exploring the idea of emulating the MALDEF with several Filipino-American lawyers after the said Filipino immigrant was accused of murder on two counts in Nevada in 1994.


A lvaro Calambro, 25, a Filipino immigrant, was executed by injection on April 5, 1999, for the January 1994 murders of Peggy Crawford, who had a tire iron driven through her skull, and Keith Christopher, whose head was crushed by a hammer. The killings happened during a robbery at a gasoline station, where Alvaro Calambro “aided” his Vietnamese-American brother-in-law commit the crimes. Alvaro had a low IQ and his public defender never raised the issue of limited-mental capacity or incapacity.


In 1998, I brought the case of Alvaro Calambro to then-Consul General Josue Villa of the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles, California. Consul General Villa assigned then Consul Malou Montero, who is also a Filipino lawyer, to attend to the case. Consul Montero visited with Mr. Calambro who was in Death Row but he told her that he wanted his execution to be carried out. While the Philippine diplomats tried to stop the execution of the Filipino national on humanitarian ground but the consulate’s intervention was actually too late. And Alvaro Calambro opposed any further appeal. Petitions for clemency to the governor of Nevada were denied. The death sentence had been imposed and reviewed automatically by the Nevada Supreme Court.


At that time, I argued then that if there was a well-organized and well-funded PALDEF, perhaps a Filipino-American lawyer could have at least mitigated the case and sentence of Alvaro Calambro. He could have been sentenced to life imprisonment after he decided to plead guilty – on the ground of impaired mental capacity.


Or going back to the topic of the DREAM Act’s poster boy, perhaps the PALDEF could have found legal avenues in 1998 to help Mark Farrales when he reached the age of 18 – or eight years after he and his siblings and mother were brought by his father in 1990 to Los Angeles, where the Farrales family sought political asylum. # # #



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Last Updated on Sunday, 19 December 2010 13:26
Comments (2)
1 Sunday, 19 December 2010 11:39
RE: Quoted Excerpts in Your Articles in Today's Sunday Times

To: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ,
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Dear Ms. Lisa, Mr. Oliphant and Mr. Ceasar:

I took the literary license of quoting excerpts from your articles in today's Sunday Times in this piece that I wrote:

Filipino Magna-cum-laude Harvard Graduate Cum Poster Boy for the Failed DREAM Act Now Faces Deportation


As required by Internet protocol, I used in my story hyperlinks and mentioned the URL to your respective articles so that our readers may be able to read them in their entirety.

Thank you for letting me quote your well-written articles,


Bobby M. Reyes
(626) 825-0628
Dear Bobby,

I shall pass it on to Bernie's widow and kids. I'm sure Bernie is thrilled that his memory lives on.

I have noticed you have that special knack for lumping multifarious topics to create one magnum opus. It's a rare talent. Kudos!

Maya Teague

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