MARCH 2018

..."D.C. Fil-Am students, teachers sound off on school shootings"

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The assembly broke into applause.

‘Not another one’
Sydney, who is president of her school’s Filipino American Youth Association (FAYA), has been passionate and outspoken when it comes to the subject of gun violence and school shootings.

“So, this was a huge moment for me when I spoke up,” she says. “As heartbreaking as the Parkland shootings were, the first thought that ran through my mind was ‘not another one.’ School shootings are so normalized within our society to the point that the feelings one feels are no longer heavy in magnitude anymore. I felt hopeless and numb because it seemed as if there was going to another shooting next week, and every week after that. I just want there to be change.”

Sydney says she is heartened by what Dr. Kevin Maxwell, Prince George’s County Public School Superintendent, said at the assembly: “He challenged our generation to rise up and be part of a conversation that should have taken place a long time ago. Sometimes, students are made to feel as if they have no voice. To be able to speak our hearts out today and feel as if we are being heard means the world to us.”

The emotional highlight of the morning assembly was when 17 students stood in an auditorium, each holding a flashlight. “I was moved and humbled by the experience,” she said. “Students spoke about each of the Parkland victims. Once the victim’s name was called, a light went out.”

‘Changes must be made’

Not all the schools in the metropolitan area participated in the March 14 protest. But 12-year-old Joseph Abelardo Conaty, a Filipino American 7th grader at St. Joseph Regional Catholic School in Laurel, Maryland, is worried that these
killings are happening far too often.

“Changes must be made by our government officials to stop these school shootings,” he said.  “The President should take action, just as much as Congress should. If anything, I believe that our President should be the person to lead. Also, every school should have some form of counseling for those who are troubl

Joseph, however, admits he is not fully confident the nation’s political leaders will take the necessary action. “Stopping a problem involves team work between the President and Congress,” he says. “But that’s not taking place.”

Arming teachers

Among the reforms Sydney would like legislators to pass are stricter laws that would make it difficult to obtain and buy a gun. She is, however, opposed to arming teachers, as proposed by President Trump.

“Teachers are just as human as we are,” she points out. “Therefore, they have their breaking points. Because teachers not only have to deal with disobedient students but also unjust wages, it would not surprise me that one day they could break. When that happens, the lives of thousands of students would be at risk. Guns have no place in a school environment.”

Filipino American teachers are also against these proposals.
An art educator and art therapist for almost 18 years, Marielle Mariano teaches at Northern Virginia’s Fairfax County Public Schools. “I did not become a teacher to become a security officer,” she says. “I became a teacher to focus on education, to teach students lessons and give them experiences to enrich their lives not to take those lives away.”

She cites an example of how things could go wrong: “Some teachers have at least 30 students in their classroom and if angry and troubled students are aware of a firearm in the class, there arises a likelihood of gaining access to a gun or an accidental shooting in a heated situation. This would cause a mental health crisis not just for the students, but for the teacher who may be involved.  Teachers care for their students.  Imagine the trauma a teacher faces after shooting a student he/she has built and nurtured a relationship with and worked so hard to help and educate.”

What schools need, Mariano says, are more counselors, social workers, mental health programs, nurses, smaller class sizes and after-school programs.

Safe Haven
Malou Cadacio of Rockville, Maryland, is a Special Education teacher in the Montgomery County Public Schools and has been in the field of education since 1994.

“Although I love firing a 9-mm on my personal free time, I could never imagine myself as a teacher bringing a gun to school which I consider a safe haven for children apart from their homes and hence sans any sort of weapon like gun,” she says. “I am tasked to mold minds and instill values and I just want to uphold that and continue to strive to be good at that. So, please, let me teach as I should, in as much as I expect parents to parent, and authorities to police.”

The nation’s capital is expecting tens of thousands for the “March for Life” demonstration on March 24.  Sydney says many of her school mates at Oxon Hill High are planning to join the march and rally.



..."Chicagoans hear Sen. Trillanes' updates on PH EJKs"

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forum moderators joseph lariosa and marlon pacson with senator antonio trillanes iv feb. 9 in chicago.

Clarito then asked, “The president has recently admitted that he is a dictator. What will happen in the next coming months?”

“What we have is a creeping dictatorship,” Trillanes answered.

”Duterte’s ultimate agenda is to set up a totalitarian regime. This is how he ruled Davao and this is how he would want to rule the Philippines.”

He made it clear that despite all of the president’s efforts, people are speaking up.
“His survey numbers will go down because at some point, Duterte will cross a red line with the Filipinos. He will be politically demasculated. Politicians will jump to the other fence and invest some goodwill for the next administration. We will not give up this fight for the rights of our kababayans.“

The next step would be to file crimes against humanity with the ICC, said Trillanes. They will study the allegations and then investigate. Then they can indict him.
Recently, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that it would perform a preliminary investigation on President Duterte’s EJKs based on numerous complaints.

Trillanes had some advice for Pinoys in the U.S. “You need to tell the truth and influence the people who can still be influenced. We are gaining ground.”

A forum guest said, “My friends ask why you are so against Duterte, and they said that you wanted to be his Vice President and that he rejected you.”

Sen. Trillanes responded, “I met to talk with Grace Poe and Rodrigo Duterte individually when I was interested in finding a running mate as a vice president.

“When I met with Duterte, he bragged about how many people he executed. I was not impressed. I thought to myself that this person should never become president.”

“Why is he doing this? Because he is sick. His mental assessment shows that he is psychologically imbalanced.”

On the question--Should Senator Trillanes find a way to collaborate with the president in finding a solution to the drug problem?

“He has already committed many deaths that he has to be responsible for and to pay for. We need to continue checking his abuses. Criticizing him is what I am doing for the country,” Trillanes answered.

“I am in the opposition but I was never an obstructionist. I supported his budget,” he said.

Eric and Amy drove to snow-bound city from outlying Naperville to support their former classmate, the senator.

"We believe in what [Sen. Trillanes] says. We’ve known him before he was a senator," Eric said.

Al Cabagnot, president of the Filipino American Grandparents Association of Chicago (FAGPAC), said that he wanted to know the other side of the story.

“I heard about my nephew who was caught with drugs and all of his barkada were killed except for him because his father was a police officer,” Cabagnot explained.
Having been often a lonely fiscalizer of the regime, the senator appreciated these encouraging comments.

A formal Naval officer who graduated from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), Sen. Trillanes has authored, co-sponsored and filed more bills than any other senator thus far.

In 2003, he was incarcerated for seven years for protesting with his PMA officers against the corruption of the former Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administration.

He was eventually granted pardon by Former President Benigno Aquino III.
He successfully ran for senator and won from his jail cell.

Hosted by the Filipino American Human Rights Advocate (FAHRA), the forum was moderated by Joseph Lariosa of JGL Global Link, Marlon Tecson, conference coordinator and Jerry Clarito, community organizer.

..."Mortgage fraud conviction ends Fil-Am judge’s promising career"

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She obtained a $25,000 commercial line of credit to maintain the properties before she sold them, a Chicago Tribune report said.
O’Brien earned $325,000 from the sale after paying kickbacks to a straw buyer.

Bartko pleaded guilty in January 2018 to one count of mail fraud affecting a financial institution. She did not testify against O’Brien.

At the time, O’Brien was a special Assistant Attorney General for the state Department of Revenue and a chief counsel to the Illinois Lottery.

Prosecutor Matthew Madden testified that when she was the owner of O’Brien Realty, LLC, she claimed to have made $250,000 on her tax returns but receipts showed she made significantly less, a Chicago Tribune report said.

Another discrepancy was when she listed her income to be $81,000 during the time she was on maternity leave, but had only made $11,000 that year, Madden added.
Her attorney Ricardo Meza claimed that she had just made a mistake and “mistakes are not fraud.”

O’Brien ran unopposed in 2012 and became the first Filipina American to be elected as a Cook County judge. That same year, her husband Brendan, also ran unopposed and won a seat as a judge as well.

O’Brien immigrated to the US after high school. She went on to receive degrees in restaurant management and culinary arts from Boston University. She eventually shifted her career focus by obtaining a Masters of Laws in Employee Benefits and Taxation from the John Marshall Law School in Chicago in 1998.

She is the first Asian to be elected to the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois in 2015 and was on the board of governors for the Illinois State Bar Association. She was also a contributing editor to the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and had a column called “Making It.”

O’Brien was a keynote speaker at the 40th annual Philippine Independence Week Committee’s (PIWC) dinner ball gala in 2015 where she discussed eliminating graft and corruption in the Philippines and protecting victims of human trafficking and human rights violations.

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.”

She is married to Judge Brendan A. O’Brien with whom she has three children. She is a native of Cebu.


..."Scammed Fil-Am still awaiting money
awarded by judge"

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In January 2016, Cheboub-Duplechin agreed to open a joint account at Chase Bank. Each one would deposit $40,000. Cheboub-Duplechin deposited her amount, but Arevalo-Eads did not deposit any money.

Duplechin said that in late January 2016 she noticed her $40,000 deposit was withdrawn from the account, leaving a zero balance.

“I called her to inquire about what happened and she said she would take care of it,” she said. When I called her again to ask to talk with her husband, she got angry with me."

Cheboub-Duplechin filed a lawsuit against Arevalo-Eads in the Cook County Circuit Court, Illinois, Case No 16 L 10252. Ms Cheboub-Duplechin was represented by Attorney Travis Life of Leavers Strand & Glover Law.

Arevalo-Eads failed to show up in court and received a judgment from Judge John C. Griffin to pay Cheboub-Duplechin a total of $80,758.35 ($71,000 in damages, $9,117.50 in attorney’s fees and $640.85 in court costs).

Arevalo-Eads was found guilty of two counts of 'Breach of Contract' and one count of 'Deceptive Trade Practices'. She failed to pay Cheboub-Duplechin, who is still awaiting for her money from her judgment a year later.

In 2017, Cheboub-Duplechin’s attorney filed an order for Arevalo-Eads to turn over all documents related to her assets and income, both in the US and the Philippines.
Cheboub-Duplechin added, “My attorney took a sworn deposition from Angela, who is claiming she has only $10 in assets and has an annual income of $1,000. Even though I won the lawsuit, I may never get a penny from Angela. I just want to warn everyone about her ways, ”said Cheboub-Duplechin.


2018 Ambassadors’ Tour of PH,July 9-15

CHICAGO--The Consulate General of the Philippines, in partnership with the Philippine Department of Tourism (PDOT) in New York, hosted the launching of the 12th Ambassadors’ Tour (ACGTD) Feb.16 at the Kalayaan Hall of the Consulate General.

The ACGTDT will take place on July 9-15 featuring top destinations in Manila, Cebu and Bohol. The basic tour package, starting from USD 975 for triple sharing (excluding international and domestic airfares), consists of a 3-night stay at Nobu Hotel in Manila, 2-night stay at Shangrila Mactan Resort and Spa in Cebu, and 2-night stay at Hennan Panglao in Bohol. Included in the package rate are land transportation transfers within Manila, Cebu and Bohol; daily breakfast at the hotels, hosted dinner with special entertainment; services of English-speaking guides throughout the tour and wreath-laying ceremony at Rizal Park, Manila.

To sign up for the Ambassadors’ Tour visit the website: or call the Tourism and Trade Section of the Consulate General at 312-583-0621 ext 22 or email at

Consul Ericka Anna T. Abad shared with the guests information on the upcoming activities of the Consulate. A raffle, sponsored by Philippine Airlines (PAL) in San Francisco followed by the fellowship, capped the evening.



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