above pic: Judge Timothy C. Evans (L) swears in Honorary Board of Director member Attorney Mary Carmen Madrid-Crost (2nd from R) and Attorney Aurora Austricao during the installation ceremony and reception for the 2017 Filipino American Lawyers Association of Chicago (FALA) March 14 at the Daley Center Courtroom in Chicago. (Photo by Cleofe Casambre)
The Philippine Independence Week Committee (PIWC) 2017 is conducting an essay writing contest in celebration of Phillippine Independence Day on Sat., May 27 at the EBG Systems, 3525 W. Peterson Ave. Ste. 324, Chicago, IL 60659.
The contest is open to Filipino/American high school students. Cash prizes ($300, $200, $150, $100, $50) will be awarded to the top five winners of the contest during the PIWC Gala Night June 17 at the Marriott O'Hare, 8535 Higgins Rd., Chicago, IL 60631. All participating essayists will receive $20 each on the contest day.
To register for the PIWC 2017 essay writing contest or for questions please email Josefina Wee Sit (firstname.lastname@example.org) the following information: Participant’s name, Address, Date of birth, Telephone Number, Email address, Parent/guardian name, School, Grade/year level, and if they have a laptop or if they need a laptop provided by the PIWC. The deadline for registration is May 7. She can be reached at 708-389-7135.
The PH Consulate General, in partnership with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, FACC, the Fil-Am Lawyers Assn. of Chicago, IL Sec. of State Securities Dept. and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, invite the community to a program, "Investing For Your Future: How to Invest Wisely and Avoid Investment Scams," on April 12, 5:30-7:30 pm, Rizal Center, 1332 W. Irving Park Rd, Chicago. Hon. Emilio B. Aquino, Commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the PH will be the guest.
While O'Brien was working, then, as a special assistant attorney general for the Illinois Department of Revenue, she also reportedly held the position of chief counsel to the Illinois Lottery. She also worked as a part-time loan officer at Amronbanc Mortgage Corporation in Lincolnwood, Illinois where Bartko was a loan originator.
At the same time, the future judge also owned O’Brien Realty, LLC, where the indictment alleged, she falsely stated in her application that she had a profit of $100,000. In addition, she falsely stated that she made $6,800 a month as an Illinois Department of Revenue attorney.
Further, federal prosecutors alleged that she and Bartko omitted in their loan application a $260,000 loan that they owed on another property they had previously bought.
O’Brien and Bartko were charged with one count of mail fraud affecting a financial institution. Prosecutors alleged that O’Brien mailed a check for $297,208.96 via UPS to Chase Bank in relation to their scheme to defraud—a federal offense.
O’Brien was also charged with one count of bank fraud resulting from O’Brien’s false loan declarations that caused Citibank to give her a $72,000 loan for the purchase of one of the investment properties cited in her case against them—another federal violation, according to the prosecutors. Their statement in the indictment indicated that each carries a punishment of up to 30 years in prison.
Jessica Arong O’Brien came from Cebu to America at the age of 16. She has a bachelor’s degree in hotel and food administration from Boston University. She landed a top managerial position with a multinational company supervising thousands of employees involved in food preparation.
In 2008, she decided to change her career and later earned a Masters of Laws in Employee Benefits and Taxation from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. She became the first Asian-American president of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois in 2015.
According to the website, Diversity Scholarship Foundation, where she was a board member, “Judge O’Brien is a contributing editor for the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and has a column entitled, ‘Making It.’ The purpose of her column is to inspire readers of people’s journey to success. The foundation has been giving scholarship to law students from various ethnic communities.
Later, she won former “President Barack Obama’s Call to Service Award in recognition for her more than 4,000 hours of volunteer service over the past decade,” according to an online biography.
O’Brien has served in roles where she oversaw prospective lawyers and helped select judges, including a term on the Illinois Supreme Court’s “Character and Fitness Committee,” which examines candidates who apply to join the state bar.
In a 2016 profile on O’Brien for ABC-Channel 7, her boss, Judge Timothy Evans, called O’Brien “open … optimistic … tenacious” and “committed to justice,” adding “we want to see more like her.”
O’Brien is to be arraigned at 10 a.m. (CST) on Thursday, April 20 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sheila Finnegan. An executive review board headed by Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans with 17 Cook County judges as members, will subsequently decide if O’Brien be removed as a judge.
In another irony for the local community, the Fil-Am Lawyers Association of Illinois which O’Brien co-founded and headed, was holding a seminar on “How to avoid investment scams” on April 12—the day when she was indicted.
Efforts to get comments from Judge O’Brien and from her colleagues went unheeded. Other Filipino Americans expressed shock but many hoped that Judge O’Brien will emerge from this disturbing development in her life as an even better person.
Israel Desierto is another Filipino American Judge at the Circuit Court in Cook County. Unlike, O’Brien, Judge Desierto was appointed in his position.
Chicago Philippine Consul General Generoso D.G. Calonge on March 31 visited the wall of the “Righteous Among the Nations” at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, Michigan honoring the late President Manuel L. Quezon’s heroic deed of saving more than 1,300 Jews from the Holocaust.
Above pic: Rabbi Eli Mayerfield (L), CEO of the Holocaust Memorial Center in Michigan receives in his office Consul General D.G. Calonge (center) and Deputy Consul General Romulo Victor Israel Jr. LEFT PIC SHOWS THE PORTRAIT OF PRESIDENT MANUEL L. QUEZON WITH A BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF HIS HEROIC CONTRIBUTION IS PROMINENTLY DISPLAYED AT THE "RIGHTEOUS AMONG THE NATIONS" PERMANENT EXHIBIT OF THE CENTER.
With its mission of “illuminating the past and enlightening the future,” the museum considered as truly edifying the little-known historical fact about President Quezon’s leading role in rescuing more than 1,300 Jews as part of a grand plan to open the Philippines to up to a million Jewish refugees who are fleeing the Holocaust.
However, the Philippine Commonwealth government remained under the control of the U.S., which maintained at the time a restrictive policy toward refugees, thus putting President Quezon at a serious political risk. Moreover, the outbreak of World War II interrupted his plan of opening settlements for more Jews to live in the country.
Consul Calonge met with Rabbi Eli Mayerfeld, CEO of the Holocaust Memorial Center Zekelman Family Campus, his predecessor, Stephen Goldman, and the center’s board for taking a bold and trailblazing step toward the recognition of President Quezon’s great contribution. Consul Calonge expressed hope that other museums would come to a consensus in granting recognition to President Quezon.
The PH Consulate General in Chicago announces that the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) has formally opened the Availment of Awards and Incentives for Overseas Filipino Centenarians pursuant to R.A. 10868, the Centenarians Act of 2016.
All Filipino Centenarians (100 years old and up) living abroad may now apply for
cash incentive amounting to Php 100K each from the Consulate General within its
The guidelines and application form for overseas Filipino Centenarians may be downloaded through the CFO website at www.cfo.gov.ph.
Qualified applicants may fill up the application form and submit the required
documents, such as proof of identification, to the Consulate General for onward
transmittal to the CFO and Department of Social and Welfare and Development in the Philippines to process and facilitate the payment. For more information, contact the Consulate General's Cultural Officer, Anna Liza F. Alcantara at telephone no. (312) 583-0621 ext. 13.
Mayor-elect Irvin called Guzman "a talented and smart guy" and said he thanked Guzman for a good campaign.
"He made me a better candidate," Irvin said. "Although we disagreed on a lot of things, we both have a commitment to our city." Irvin added that he now can "make a smooth transition to being the 57th mayor of Aurora."
Guzman, 39, said he is "at peace" with the outcome and said he felt good to have gotten the support and trust he did and "to have gotten this close."
"I ran for mayor because I believed that I could make a difference," he said. "But I also know I don't have to be mayor to make a difference. That is one of the ways, but by no means the only way."
Guzman, whose Filipino father came to the U.S. in 1970, urged his supporters to "work collaboratively with one another — and with our new mayor-elect, Richard Irvin."
There are no fewer than 1000 Filipino Americans living in Aurora where Guzman worked as assistant chief of staff to the immediate past mayor, Tom Weisner, who endorsed and campaign for Guzman.
This is Guzman’s first try to run as mayor compared to Irvin’s fourth. The two emerged as the top vote getters in the February primary where seven vied for the position.
"I still believe that Aurora's greatest days are close at hand," Guzman said. "We are a city of rich history, opportunity and cultural diversity unlike nearly anywhere else. Aurora has a unique ability to become a place where everyone is valued, where everyone contributes — and where more and more people want to invest, to work and to live."
Meanwhile, another Filipino American, Arnulfo Noble, was decisively defeated by the incumbent, 3-1, in the April 4 mayoral derby at Oakbrook Terrace, a small village , west of Chicago, where only 500 voters went to the polls.
The election results do not become official until they are canvassed by the Aurora and DuPage County election commissions.
Morton Grove, Illinois Village Trustee Ed Ramos (left) and Village Mayor Dan di Maria won reelections by wide margins (75 to 25) in the April 4 elections due to the solid Fil-Am votes. PINOY/Anong Santos
Steven Schmidt, 39, in an emotional statement, attributed his victory to “the support he got from Filipino voters,” who crossed party lines to deliver the 110-vote margin of his victory. His party mates got only 25 percent of the ballots cast in this village north of Chicago.
On the other hand, Kenneth Mantel, the son of a Filipino mother from Cavite, came in 340-votes short of becoming a park commissioner in the Village of Skokie, also north of Chicago. Anyways, Mantel, 38, expressed appreciation for the support from the Filipino American voters and vowed to fight for their interests in his other capacity as a community advocate.
In the conservative DuPage County, Robert P. Tolentino was one of the four Republicans who swept the election for all the trustee slots in the Bloomingdale Township.
Tolentino unsuccessfully ran in 2005 for mayor of Glendale Heights, a position held by the late Joven Fajardo, the first and, so far, only Filipino American elected mayor in Illinois.
More concerned citizens
In the hometown of Hillary R. Clinton, Park Ridge resident Aurora A. Austriaco was one of the four candidates who won in the contested election for Maine Township School Board. Maine East High School, from where Clinton graduated in the late 1960s, is part of the township. Austriaco was formerly president of the Chicago BAR Association.
In Peoria, Illinois—home of Caterpillar Industries—two brothers, Lito and Allan Capati, also ran for seats in two school boards. Allan won a seat but not Lito. The Capatis have been business owners in the area for the past 30 years, supplying metal parts to various U.S. industries.
Many in the Filipino American community in Illinois are glad to see more members running for elective positions. Notably, it has been a long struggle to convince Filipino immigrants to participate in civic affairs.
Morton Grove Trustee Ed Ramos bewails the “silly attitude” of those who refused to register and vote because of their unfounded fear that they might be called for jury duty.
A fellow villager of Ramos added, “So what if we were called to serve as jurors? They should see that as a privilege and honor.”
But with the recent electoral developments, many are expressing optimism that Filipinos are evolving from just hardworking immigrants into more concerned and involved citizens.
Since the resumption of the registration for overseas voting last December, the Consulate General of the Philippines in Chicago has, so far, registered around 2,000 Filipinos throughout the Midwest region of the U.S. Together with the 12,000 Filipinos alone and those with dual citizenship who have registered in the past registration cycles, they will be able to take part in all upcoming national Philippine elections.
In a related report issued by the Consulate, women far outnumber men among registered voters, a possible indication of Filipino women’s increasing social consciousness and political activeness. Gender classification and other key findings of the study show the following characteristics of the registered overseas voters:
Gender. Out of the 12,684 registered overseas voters, 64% are women, while only 36% are men. The report does not determine the actual cause of such disparity, as women have enjoyed numerical advantage in the Filipino American population in the 16 states under the Consulate’s jurisdiction, based on the 2010 U.S. Census Survey. However, it emphasizes that women’s voice and role in body politic, especially in electing future leaders, have indeed grown much stronger.
Status Abroad. With regard to the overseas voters’ immigration status, 61% are lawful permanent residents or immigrants in the U.S. Those with or temporary worker status, considered as OFWs, comprise 7% of the entire group.
Meanwhile, Filipinos who have naturalized in the U.S. are also given the opportunity to register to vote once they reacquire/retain their Philippine citizenship. These represent 23%, the second largest sector, which the Consulate expects to increase as more FilAms avail themselves of dual citizenship while the voter’s registration continues up to 30 September 2018.
Age Groups. The data show that the biggest age group is 36-45 years old, making up around 26% of the overseas voters, closely followed by the 46-55 (18%) and 56-65 (20%) brackets. The younger 26-35 and much older 66 plus groups combined constitute 30% of the total. The youngest group of 18-25 is the smallest at 6%.
In each age group, women consistently outnumber men as registered overseas voters. Consul General D.G. Calonge, in sharing these findings with the Filipino communty, renews his call for all Filipino citizens in Post’s jurisdiction ages 18 and above to register to vote.
For questions on how to register to vote or other inquiries, email Sheridan Sabeniano or Kya Cupino at email@example.com.
75th Commemoration of Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor), April 8
The Consulate General of the Philippines invites the community to participate in the 75th Commemoration of Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) with a wreath laying ceremony (weather permitting) at the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Bridge on Saturday, April 8 at 9:00 am, at the corner of State Street and Wacker Drive, Chicago.
After the wreath laying ceremony, a short program will be held around 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., at the Kalayaan Hall of the Consulate General of the Philippines, 122 S. Michigan Avenue, Suite 1600, Chicago, Illinois 60603. The event intends to pay tribute to thousands of Filipino and American soldiers who displayed extraordinary gallantry and courage beyond the call of duty in defending Bataan and Corregidor in 1941-1942.
For more information, contact the Consulate General’s Cultural Officer, Anna Liza F. Alcantara, at telephone no. (312) 583-0621 ext. 13, or email the Consulate at firstname.lastname@example.org.