Amidst snowstorm Chicagoans hear Sen. Trillanes' updates on PH EJKs

By Grace Garcia Szpytma
Pinoy Newsmagazine Special

CHICAGO - No fewer than 25 Filipino Americans braved 12 inches of snow on Feb. 9 to hear Senator Antonio Trillanes IV speak about "the more than 10,000 extrajudicial killings (EJKs) under President Duterte" at the Hana Center in this city.

The senator was in town to visit family but he took the opportunity to meet with the local Filipino community.

top left photo: Sen Trillanes discusses with a forum audience about EJKs in the Philippines at Hana Center, Chicago Feb. 9. (pinoy photo by grace garcia szpytma)

He has been a staunch critic of President Duterte’s response to the drug epidemic in the Philippines.

Forum facilitator, Jerry Clarito, told attendees, “Did you know that the senator is being targeted by President Duterte because he is his principal adversary?”

“President Duterte has ordered people to have me killed, but for some reason I’m still around and it may mean that I have a mission and a purpose to serve,” Trillanes shared.

“I’m here to give you an update about what’s happening in the Philippines. The EJKs are not about eliminating drug pushers. It is about him being able to control people,” the senator added.

“President Duterte is accountable for all of the deaths. He has used the Philippine police as a killing machine.”

(Read more "Chicagoans hear Sen. Trillanes' updates on PH EJKs")


Chicago Fil-Ams mourn death of 7 medical missionaries in Cebu

By Mariano A. Santos


CHICAGO—The shock of a tragic crash of a tour van in Alegria, Cebu on January 20 continues to reverberate in the Filipino community in this city-- eliciting disbelief and prayers from grieving residents on the sudden death of seven health care workers on their way to their annual medical missions in Camiguin, an island near Cebu.

left photo: Prominent Chicago physician Nunilo Rubio died Jan. 20 when a van they were riding in hit a roadside tree. His wife, Dr. Elenita Rubio, is in critical condition. (Photo by Dr. G. Guzman) right photo: Aurora Gagni (r), a nurse from Orland Park, Il. also died on the scene. (Gagni Facebook photo).

Reported killed when a speeding Toyota Grandia van hit a roadside mahogany tree include prominent area physician, Dr. Nunilo Rubio, 74, of Chicago; Mrs. Aurora M. Gagni, 63, a registered nurse from Orland Park, Illinois; husband and wife—Reynaldo J. and Diane I. Pascual-- of White Plaines, New York; Joseph and Juvela Huang and Berniti Rojas.

Taken to various local hospitals with serious injuries are Dr. Elenita Rubio, wife of Nunilo and husband and wife—Fred and Nora Tsai of Chicago. They are 10 of the four-dozen volunteers of this year’s medical mission organized by the Philippine Medical Association of Chicago (PMAC) and its Women’s Auxiliary that is expected to start Monday, January 22 in the Camiguin Island.

The driver, Gilbert dela Cruz, 24, survived the accident with minor injuries. In a Cebu Daily News report, Alegria chief of Police, Efren Diaz, said that dela Cruz admitted dozing off on the wheel but denied using drugs. The officer also said that the driver admitted getting only an hour’s sleep before he started his fateful trip with the out-of-towners early that Saturday.

Further, Diaz declared that the driver is now in custody pending charges against him for reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and physical injuries. Report has it, the group was on the way to spend the rest of day at the Kawasa Falls in Badian when the mishap happened after spending the morning whale shark-watching in Oslob—an area in the southwest of Cebu.

The Rubios and the Tsais are both couples respected by many in the area for their professional achievements and their philanthropic endeavors.

(Read more Chicago Fil-Ams mourn death of 7 medical missionaries in Cebu...)


A farewell party for ConGen Generoso Calonge (seated 4th fr. L) was held at the Maharlika Hall of the Philippine Consulate in Chicago Jan. 11 with members of the Philippine community joining the consular officials in giving tribute to the outgoing top Philippine official in the Midwest area. Ruben Salazar of the Philippine American Cultural Foundation and Almira Gilles of the Philippine American Historical Society led those who lauded Ambassador Calonge. (Photo courtesy of Arnel Pineda)

Chicago welcomes new Consul General Dr. Gina Jamoralin

Dr. Gina Jamoralin, Philippine Consul General of Hawaii, will succeed Philippine Consul General of Chicago Generoso Calonge who completed his post Jan. 18. He was recalled to Manila.

Consul Gina Jamoralin has held her post in Hawaii since July 2014. Her previous postings were in Bucharest, Romania from 1996-2002 and Tokyo, Japan from 2006-2012. After passing the Philippine Foreign Service Examination in 1991, Dr. Jamoralin joined the Philippine Foreign Service in January 1992.

Dr. Jamoralin earned her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Santo Tomas and a Master of Public Administration from the University of the Philippines. She also earned her MBA from McGill University inTokyo, Japan. She completed a Post-Graduate Diploma in International Relations from the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) at the Hague, The Netherlands and the Diplomatic Course for Junior ASEAN Diplomats at the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

top right photo:ambassador Gina Jamoralin

(Read more "Chicago welcomes new Consul General")


Two Pinoys were youngest victims of the gory 1993 ‘Brown’s Chicken Massacre’

By Mariano "Anong" Santos


The youngest victims of the 1993 “Brown’s Chicken Massacre” are Rico L. Solis, 17, and Michael A. Castro, 16, (2nd & 3rd fr. left). Others are (fr. L) Guadalupe Maldonado, Thomas Mennes, Marcus Nellsen and restaurant owners Richard and Lynn Ehlenfeldt.

CHICAGO—EXACTLY 25 YEARS after one of the most notorious crimes in the Chicago area history that happened on January 8, 1993, the “Brown’s Chicken Massacre” is back in the news.

One of the two convicted killers, James E. Degorski was recently denied a new trial based on his claim that his former girlfriend, Anne Lockett, who became a key prosecution witness in his 2009 trial, lied on the witness stand that she would eventually receive a portion of the $98,000 reward offered for his and his partner’s arrest.

“Epifania [Michael Castro’s mom] is now resigned to her fate and thoughts of getting even are gone. She has forgiven them.”

Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan agreed on January 8 with prosecutors that Jennifer Bonjean, attorney for Degorski, failed to prove that his rights had been violated at trial. Bonjean said that she would appeal the ruling.

Assistant State’s Attorney Alan Spellberg said that the evidence against Degorski was so voluminous that Lockett’s contribution at the trial was relatively insignificant, he said, noting that Degorski confessed multiple times to his role in the slayings.

Degorski and co-defendant Juan A. Luna Jr. are both serving life sentences for their role in the slayings of husband-wife owners and their five workers of the Brown’s Chicken and Pasta Restaurant at 168 W. Northwest Highway, Palatine, Illinois—a suburb northwest of this city.

Two of the victims were Michael C. Castro, 16, and Rico L. Solis, 17, who were working part time at the fast food place after attending their classes at Palatine High School where they were classmates.

left photo: Epifania, mother of Michael Castro,(middle) once bitter but has since forgiven her son's murderers

The bodies of the young men along with five others were found five and a half hours after the store had closed for the night by the police stacked inside the restaurant’s walk-in freezer.


All--including owners Richard Ehlenfeldt, 50, and his wife, Lynn, 49, and other employees Thomas Mennes, 32, Marcus Nellsen, 31, and Guadalupe Maldonado, 46, sustained fatal gunshot wounds. The killers stole under $2,000 from the restaurant.

On the night of the massacre, the mother of Castro, Epifania, had alerted Palatine police when her son failed to come home at the usual time.

(Read more Two youngest victims of 1993 'Brown's Chicken Massacre' are Pinoys...)




PINOY in an era of 'fake news'

By Mariano "Anong" Santos

PINOY Publisher/Editor



PINOY was ‘resurrected” in 2000. That was 18 years ago. In 1977, I was part of a group of 12 who started PINOY which lasted up to early 1979. There were only a few Filipino American business establishments then which made it difficult to sustain the high cost of putting out an ethnic newspaper. There was no “economy of scale.”

Publishing technology is not as advanced as it is today. PINOY’s circulation then was 3000—now it has more than tripled. It folded soon enough then because of growing financial losses. I used to joke—“If you really hate someone, convince him to start a Filipino newspaper.” But the call to do right is louder.

The challenges of newspaper publishing have only increased in the last decade. The advent of the internet affected specially the mainstream media. When I arrived in Chicago in the 1970s, there were still five major dailies that survived over a dozen newspapers in the area that competed fiercely in the first half of the last century.

ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN: Washington Post’s journalists Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) pursue a dangerous lead that brought down the Nixon Presidency. Jason Robards Jr. won an Oscar for playing Ben Bradlee, the editor who supported his young reporters all the way in exposing the Watergate coverup.

THE BULLY PULPIT: Theodore Roosevelt, William Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism. Presidents’ Day is this month and this is an excellent book by award-winning biographer, Doris Kearns Goodwin, about Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and Taft—their friendship and their falling out. Account of Taft’s years in the Philippines as governor-general is included in this work which is also about the role of journalists as crusaders for meaningful reform and how they can work with elected officials in an ethical way.

KILL THE MESSENGER: The danger and risk of pursuing the truth on the Iran-Contra Scandal during the Reagan Presidency is the subject of this suspenseful 2014 film with an Academy win.

I saw the demise of the Chicago Daily News, Chicago Today and the Chicago Defender—leaving the Tribune and the Sun-Times struggling to stay above water. It’s brutal out there, indeed, but with President Trump espousing “Fake Media” as his kind of press, it has never been more important for the press to persist if we are to preserve democracy in this country.

Double that need for PINOY to keep going-- Duterte is a soul brother of Trump when it comes to dealing with the press. The Philippine Daily Inquirer, ABS-CBN and now Rappler have been the target of the Philippine strongman’s ire. It is gratifying that a top alumni of the University of Sto. Tomas protested the award given to their fellow Thomasian, Mocha Unson, co-head of Duterte’s controversial information office. Mocha continued to get criticized for her inaccurate delivery of the news including placing Mayon in Naga when it is actually in Albay.


It is good news that that even Pope Francis came out recently in defense for truth in reporting. “We need to unmask what could be called the ‘snake-tactics’ used by those who disguise themselves in order to strike at any time and place,” the pope writes in a message ahead of what the church has designated as its World Day of Social Communications, in May.

(Read more “PINOY in an era of 'fake news'’"...)



Editorial Cartoon by Jym Andalis


PINOY and its mission 18 years later

By mariano a. santos

editor/ publisher

THE DECISION to come out with another publication is greeted with considerable enthusiasm by people who truly believe the community deserves a press forum that truly reflects the aspirations and concerns of our growing community.

There are some who cast doubts on the long term survival of this kind of publication. They seem to say: Embrace pocketbook journalism if you want be around longer. Charge thousands for your stories without disclosing it properly to the reading public. (In short be pimps and prostitutes and pass yourselves as journalists?)

Is that really the smart way? If it is, why not just be pimps and prostitutes? The money is easier and better.

But then some like to play games. Power play. The fourth estate, as the press is sometimes called, has a vital role in a democracy. The press has power. Others see this as a pass to con people. They take it as a license to steal and to defraud the unsuspecting public.

(Read more "PINOY and its mission 18 years later"...)



By Jon Melegrito

Letter from Washington



right photo from CNN Philippines Tweet

What’s in store for 2018?

THE YEAR 2017 has been aptly described as one of disruption and destruction, thanks to Trump’s presidency which has done daily damage to democracy, civil discourse, the constitution, the media and all our basic notions of decency, truthfulness and honesty.

This past year was also fraught with turmoil over White Supremacy, fueled by Trump’s own racist views, banning Muslims and branding Mexican immigrants as “rapists.” Days before marking his first anniversary in office, he described Haiti and African countries as “shithole countries.”

So, as we leave behind a tumultuous year, what can we look forward to in 2018?

For Filipino Americans who should care about political empowerment, the midterm elections present an opportunity to engage in the affairs of government: Exercise our right to vote, most definitely. And possibly run on all levels for public office, from local to national.

Among the issues already dominating this year’s national conversation is immigration. The partisan clash over what to do with DREAMERS – young people who were brought to this country without legal status – has now become what political observers cast as a conflict pitting the “nativist impulses unleashed by Trump’s presidential campaign, and now embraced by his party at large, against the demands of a Democratic base that more reflects and embraces an increasingly diverse nation.”

Liberals in Congress want to do away with the restrictive quota-based system that has governed U.S. immigration policy for decades.

(Read more "What’s in store for 2018?"...)




By Fr. Tirso Villaverde

The chair of St. Peter at the Vatican

FOR THOSE of us who may have visited St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, we may be familiar with the chapel that houses a unique reliquary. The chapel is located in the farthest end of the basilica. The most noticeable marker would be the Holy Spirit stained glass window which many of us have seen pictures of even if we have not seen it in person. Underneath that famous stained glass window is a large reliquary in which is contained a relic that is believed to be a wood chair used by St. Peter.

About ten or twelve years ago, I had the privilege of concelebrating a Sunday Mass at the altar underneath the Chair of St. Peter. From my vantage point, the Chair of St. Peter was a massive shrine high above my head. I could not help but be reminded of the grandeur of God and the great sacrifice that St. Peter had given by his martyrdom.

The Chair of St. Peter is not the only relic of St. Peter that is enshrined in the basilica named after him. Underneath the main church, there lies the site that is believed to be the exact location where St. Peter was crucified. The story goes that St. Peter was crucified in the city of Rome hanging upside down because he did not feel worthy enough to die in the exact same manner as the Messiah. The obelisk that stands outside of the basilica in St. Peter’s Square is an archaeological artifact that dates back to the exact time of St. Peter’s death and stood near the spot where the saint was executed.

Jaws of death

The wood chair that is believed to have been used by St. Peter in the exercise of his ministry as Bishop of Rome is encased in a large bronze container sculpted by the famous artist Bernini and is itself shaped like a large throne. The wooden chair inside the reliquary dates back to the early centuries around the time when St. Peter lived and died in Rome. Like most relics, we will never be able to determine with exact surety whether or not this wooden chair was actually used by St. Peter but the point to the relic is much greater than simply determining its place in history. The Chair of St. Peter symbolizes the authority that St. Peter was given when Jesus entrusted to him the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.

(Read more "The chair of St. Peter at the Vatican"...)




Immigration relief for victims of human trafficking

By Alberto Gonzales

Immigration Attorney

(708) 916-3077

Note: This article is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship or to constitute legal advice. This article provides a general overview only and should not be relied upon in lieu of consultation with an immigration attorney.

THREE YEARS ago, Maria, an 18-year-old student, met George in her province in the Philippines. George promised Maria a culinary internship in Chicago. George assisted Maria in getting a J-1 exchange visitor visa from the U.S. Embassy in Manila.

After arriving in the U.S., George took Maria’s passport. George then compelled Maria to work 16-hour days, seven days a week as a cook with below-minimum wages in George’s restaurant. When Maria refused to comply, George severely beat her and burned her back with a hot iron. He also threatened to have her deported. Maria was not allowed to leave George’s apartment alone. One day, after George forgot to lock the restaurant kitchen, Maria escaped and went to the police. Is there any immigration relief available to Maria?

Involuntary servitude

Fortunately, Maria likely qualifies for a T Visa. According to Section 101(a)(15)(T) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, to qualify for a T Visa, Maria must prove that she: (1) was a victim of “severe trafficking”; (2) is present in the U.S. or at a port of entry because of the trafficking; (3) “has complied with any reasonable request for assistance in the Federal, State, or local investigation or prosecution” of the trafficking (or is under the age of 18, or she cannot cooperate in the investigation or prosecution because of trauma, as determined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in consultation with the Attorney General (AG); and (4) “would suffer extreme hardship involving unusual and severe harm” if she were removed/deported from the United States.

(Read more "Immigration relief for victims of human trafficking...")





Featured Sponsors















completely free