Daily Archives: April 2, 2008

FilAms Losing Homes in Daly City

by Cynthia Flores/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES – A real estate research firm reported March 30 that Daly City, where immigrants make up 53% of the population, has the highest number of foreclosures in San Mateo County. Affected homeowners are said to be mostly Filipinos and Hispanics who have never owned a home before.

Almost 30 percent of the county’s homes taken back by lenders and put up for sale in February were in Daly City, according to an Examiner analysis of a recent report from foreclosureradar.com, a Web site that tracks foreclosure rates in California. The Daly City figures followed another report from the site indicating that foreclosure auction sales have more than doubled in San Mateo County in February over a year earlier, though sales have slowed since January.

Known for its huge Filipino American residents, Daly City recently experienced a larger number of first-time buyers with limited resources and riskier loans.

“They were much more susceptible to getting into loans that they didn’t understand,” said John Gieseker, a San Bruno broker with Prudential California Realty. “Immigrants have seen it as very important to own your own home because it’s a greater level of security, so they would push harder to buy something.”

The city known as “the gateway to the Peninsula” also had twice as many foreclosed homes than San Mateo, a city of comparable size with a higher median income and a smaller immigrant population, according to DataQuick, a real estate research firm.

Local housing experts said some immigrants were not given enough information about the risk they were taking and others were specifically targeted by predatory lenders.

Most foreclosures and default notices were concentrated around Mission Street, on the coast west of Skyline Boulevard and near King Drive at the city’s southern border.

“Everybody wants to live here because of our proximity to San Francisco,” Daly City Filipino American Councilmember and past mayor Mike Guingona said. “We can’t punish those people for wanting a piece of the American dream — we should accommodate them.”

(www.asianjournal.com)

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From Obese Nurse to LA Marathon Top Runner

by Cynthia Flores/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES – Of the 20,230 finishers in the 2007 LA Marathon, close to 8,000 were women. Holding the record of being the fastest female runner in the 5K events run in her age group, the fourth fastest 10K time, fifth fastest for half marathon and seventh fastest in the full marathon is Rosemarie Hernandez Jeanpierre.

Five years ago, walking just a short distance was an extremely difficult task for Rosemarie. Badly obese through her life, Rosemarie at 5’2 weighed 220 pounds. Now literally half the woman she used to be, Rosemarie has shed half of this and now weighs 110 pounds. She has competed in many races, has won a lot of medals and has come to be a part of the Los Angeles elite runners’ class.

Recently, Rosemarie has been featured in The Los Angeles Times, Shape magazine, More Magazine and the L.A. Sports and Fitness magazine. She will also be appearing in an infomercial with Billy Blanks TAEBO T3 this March and in the Competitor magazine soon.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be able to become an athlete and accomplish anything like this, “ admitted Rosemarie to Asian Journal. “As a child growing up in San Fernando, La Union, I was always the heaviest student in the class.”

Around the mid-80’s, a friend introduced Rosemarie to an American, Kenneth Jeanpierre, who works for the IRS and became her pen pal for three years. In 1988, Kenneth went to the Philippines and married Rosemarie.

“Before I got married, I shed about 50 pounds but it was in the wrong way. I starved myself so all the weight crept back after I got married,” said Rosemarie. She weighed 130 pounds on her wedding day.

Three years after she moved to the US, she was pushing 200. She took up LVN in California and upon passing the State Board Exam, worked as a nurse in the Western Convalescent Hospital for 12 years.

Rosemarie tells her incredible weight loss story in a voice that reveals her own amazement.

“In 2003, I have been having severe migraine attacks and was constantly not feeling well. I decided to have a physical exam and tests showed that I have borderline Diabetes Mellitus, hypertension and out-of-range cholesterol levels and at high risk for a heart attack. It was also the first year anniversary of my father’s death who died of a heart attack as a complication of his diabetes. It was a wake-up call for me. I decided I had to do something about my health,” she said.

Changes within

“I knew I had to do major changes in my lifestyle. But, knowing in my heart that with God, all things are possible, I was able to overcome my health concerns. I started to do a lot of researching on how to manage a healthy lifestyle. I started educating myself by going to the library and getting all the information I could find that had something to do with fitness and health. And I do believe in the saying, the more you know, the better you do,” she said.

“It was really very difficult at first, but with strong faith in Him, I was able to be guided in abundance. With lots of hard work, will power, determination, consistency, persistence, and self-discipline, support from family and friends, I was able to accomplish my goal. I started to eat healthy – like high in protein, low in carbs and fat. I watched my calorie intake. I exercised, I started walking at first, for at least an hour a day and weight training as well,” she added.

Letting go of rice

“It wasn’t easy specially since I had to cut back on my rice intake. But I don’t deprive myself of Filipino food. I grew up with Filipino food so I love the taste. But now I just load up on the healthier dishes, the ones with a lot of gulay. I’m blessed because I’ve always loved vegetables. I love pinakbet, diningding, all of that, ” stated Rosemarie.

Walking and running was simply an everyday part of her life that Rosemarie didn’t think they would become her passion.

“That was the turning point in my life, when it became a passion for my staying fit. In 2005, my nephew suggested I join the LA marathon. And I realized that I was really ready for a marathon. For that year, I was able to participate in 3 full marathons and did well. I did not stop there. I started running several half marathons as well. And before I knew it, I was being recognized as one of the top three runners in my age division in LA.”

“I never dreamed in my entire life that I would be known as an athlete or a runner, but there I was getting medals and trophies for something I absolutely love doing. I did not run to compete, but just for the sake of the joy running brings me,” she added.

Now working at the Pacific Alliance Medical Center, Rosemarie happily states that she’s enjoying good health and the migraines are gone. “I am so thankful to God for His blessings that He’s given me – doing such a complete transformation in my life. With these accomplishments, I believe God has a purpose in my life, and this is to share my story, to motivate and to inspire others to set positive goals and to set good examples in fulfilling and achieving healthy lifestyle. I want to encourage others to step out from their comfort zones, to do something worthwhile in their lives to release their full potentials,” Rosemarie said.

Today, one of Rosemarie’s dreams is to have a running event especially for Filipinos.

“At all of my running events, I don’t see nearly enough Filipinos. I wish more Filipinos would participate in events like these [such as the L.A. marathon]. I hope we can have our own running event, you know, with sponsors and everything so we can raise funds for the less fortunate in the Philippines.”

With her faith in God, Rosemarie truly believes this will happen soon. “All things are possible with God,” she stresses.

(www.asianjournal.com)

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Glendale’s Commission on Women Honors Three

by Rene Villaroman/Asianjournal.com

GLENDALE – “I believe that women leadership is blossoming all over this country and we are living the promise carved out by a generation of women long before mine,” declared the Mayor Marsha Ramos (Burbank) on the Fourth Annual “Jewels of Glendale” Awards held at the Oakmont Country Club. The annual awards luncheon is a project of the City of Glendale Commission on the Status of Women.

“Today women are an essential and powerful part of our community experience. And it is certainly evident today as we recognize the courageous leadership demonstrated by the three honorees this afternoon,” Mayor Ramos said.

The “Woman of Courage” honorees were Seda Khojayan of the Armenian Relief Society; Linda Patrick, founder of the American Cancer Society Relay for Life committee; and  late Rabbi Carole Meyers, the first woman rabbi in Southern California to have her own congregation.

“They are force multipliers who have steadfastly envisioned a community that was stronger, healthier and inclusive,” said Mayor Ramos. “They are respected leaders because they have pursued their vision with integrity. They are courageous leaders that were willing to take personal risks in pursuit of their dream, and their passion for the work has genuinely enhanced our communities.”

“We have had a fantastic year,” declared Karla Kerlin, chair of the Commission on the Status of Women. “We continued our work in the area of sexual assault with ‘Sexual Assault Awareness Month’ and the annual ‘Take Back the Night March’ and ‘Clothesline Project’ in partnership with the Glendale YWCA.”

“But by far, our biggest accomplishment this year was that we were able to bring a long-time dream of ours to fruition. With generous grants from the Soroptimists International of Glendale, and the California Women’s Foundation, we were able to produce our “Camp Rosie,” Kerlin said. Camp Rosie is a no-cost three-week camp that teaches high school girls the importance of saving and becoming financially literate.

Kerlin also acknowledged the other commissioners, including Paula Devine, Grace Walker, Ruth Sowby, Elizabeth Manasserian, Angele Ketefian, and Marie LeMelle; and student commissioners Elaine Panlaqui and Susie Keyvanian.

Rabbi Meyers, who died of bone cancer at age 50 in late 2007, was accorded a 20-minute audio-visual montage that celebrated her life and work, and included a video clip of the prayer that she delivered on November 8, 2001 before the United States Congress in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Her award was received by her husband, Ralph Zerefsky.

“This afternoon we celebrate the courageous leadership of both the past and the present, but let’s take a moment to reflect on our own dreams, and aspire to be the change we wish to see in the world,” Mayor Ramos said. “Pursue your dreams with courage, strength and imagination. Build and nurture your relationships and others will help you in your pursuit. We can create the future we desire, and like all of the women leaders I have mentioned today, we can do it with joyful zeal and compassion.”

(www.asianjournal.com)

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Two SoCal Teachers Bags Milken National Award

By Joseph Pimentel and Rene Villaroman/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES – The Milken Family Foundation awarded 75 school teachers nationwide with the prestigious National Educator Award in a star-studded event at the Westin Bonaventure last March 31. Two of the teachers were Asian Americans from Southern California public school districts.

The gala event commenced after the foundation’s National Education Conference and the 8th Annual National Teacher Advancement Program (TAP) Conference.

Dubbed the Oscar’s of Teaching, the award is given annually “to honor and reward outstanding K-12 educators for the quality of their teaching, their professional leadership, their engagement with families and the community, and their potential for even greater contributions to the healthy development of children,” according to the Milken Foundation.

The 75 Milken Educators each received $25,000 cash prizes to do “whatever they wish.”

“It’s not about receiving the award but giving back to the profession they love,” said West Virginia State Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. He was a Milken National Educator recipient in 1995. “These teachers cultivate seeds of greatness in our children.”

The Milken Educator Award was established in 1985. Since its inception more than 2,100 teachers nationwide have received the award and more than $58 million in cash prizes given.

Marilyn Garza, one of this year’s awardees, said that she plans to use the money to help her family. “They’ve supported me this whole time,” she said. Garza is an eighth-grade science teacher in a Santa Barbara middle school.

“We’re also planning a big Disneyland trip for my three children,” she added.

Notification

The highlight of the night was a video montage of how each award recipient received the illustrious National Educator Award. Presenting the award is secretive. The teacher’s themselves do not know if they are a recipient until their name is called during a surprise “School Assembly function.”

Last December, Aaron Chung, 34, a mathematics teacher at Temple Intermediate Academy was unaware up to the last minute that he would be the recipient of the award until it was announced by Milken Family Foundation Chairman and co-founder Lowell Milken.

“You don’t find us. We find you,” said Milken.

“Honestly, I sit up here thinking, $25,000. That’s a lot of money for me,” a beaming Aaron Chung told the convocation. “I couldn’t do it alone. I thank the students for giving up their Saturdays to attend Algebra classes and to learn. You don’t have to be an A student; just set a goal for yourself; believe in yourself.”

Chung, a Vietnamese  sought asylum in the United States with her sister when he was 15 years old. A math whiz, Chung excelled in sciences and was advised by friends and relatives to become a doctor. After graduating from high school in Alhambra, he enrolled at California Polytechnic University in Pomona and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree, major in Biochemistry in 1998. But he ignored the advice of friends and went into a teaching career instead.

“I love working with children, they make me look younger,” Chung told Asian Journal.

“Five years ago, we were known as a gangster’s school,” said Principal, Dr. C.P. Cheung, who nominated Chung. “The parents feared [sending] their kids to this school. Back in 2001, our API test score was 606, the lowest in our district. Today, we have climbed by 131 points to 737 points,” Dr. Cheung declared proudly.

At present, Temple holds a perfect attendance record, the highest score in English learning, the only school in the district with increased enrolment, and one of the few public schools in California that has a 3-hour Saturday academic school attended by more than 200 students and taught by 11 teachers.

“Ever since I was a kid growing up in Vietnam, it has been my dream to become a teacher.”

Just like most immigrants, Chung planned to bring his family to the United States. “I had the American dream to bring my family here, build a house for myself,” Chung said. “Part of my prize will go to completing a house that I am building, and give some to my mother who wishes to visit her uncles in China,” Chung revealed.

“Teachers have the most important job in America,” said Milken, who is himself a product of California’s public school system. “We entrust them with the enormous responsibility of preparing our young people with the skills, knowledge and experiences needed to be successful in a most challenging 21st century.”

Temple Intermediate teacher Chung’s involvement with his school and his exemplary instruction inside the classroom have been instrumental in helping the school go from the district’s lowest-achieving school five years ago to being the top. Temple also has been an enrolment draw in this district.

“It really does take the entire community to provide excellent educational delivery, and that’s exactly what you are doing. Education is really the great equalizer in our society today,” said O’Connell.

(www.asianjournal.com)

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Why Do They Kill Themselves?

by Cynthia Flores/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Police Commission revealed in a report on March 26 that more LA police commit suicide than die in the line of duty. The study of police psychologists reported that 19 Los Angeles police officers killed themselves between 1998 and 2007, while only seven died in the line of duty. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young adults, after accidents and homicides in the US.

Kevin Jablonski, Chief Psychiatrist for the LAPD, pinned the high suicide rates on the mental anguish that comes from policing dangerous streets.

“When you interact day after day, hour after hour with either the victims of crime or the perpetrators of crime, you start thinking this world is dangerous, this world is violent,” he said. “It’s depressing.”

However the suicide rate among Los Angeles officers has decreased more than 20 percent since 1998, when the department pushed to increase suicide prevention services.  Jablonski said more needs to be done to make sure officers know treatment is available for conditions that lead to suicide, such as depression and alcoholism.

Public teaching and suicide

Sadly, Filipinos are not exempted from the affliction. A few months ago, the city of Baltimore was stunned by the successive suicides of two Filipino public school teachers.

Fe Bolado, 26, and Irenea Conato Apao, 41, died six months apart. On May 2007, Bolado hanged herself with an extension cord after cutting her wrist while Apao died in an apparent overdose of antidepressants.

According to investigations, both women did not leave a note behind to reveal why they felt suicide was the only option. What is certain is that both arrived in this country with expectations for brighter futures and both left the world with broken dreams and broken hearts.

“In the aftermath of the suicides, groups such as the Baltimore Teachers Union and the Philippine Embassy have reached out to the city’s Filipino teachers. School system administrators started doing more to promote the free counseling program that’s offered,” a newspaper reported.

Dr. Benedicto Borja, a Filipino Associate Director of the Psychiatric Residency Training Program at Sheppard Pratt and University of Maryland Medical Center offered to help in counselling.

Seeking mental health care is “a sign of weakness in our culture,” Borja said. “It’s unthinkable. The thinking in the Philippines is, ‘Snap out of it, you’ve got your whole family.’  But Filipinos should learn to overcome their reluctance to reach out for help. We can’t just ignore the fact that two people have lost their lives. We have to, I wouldn’t say, change the culture but I would say, enlighten the culture.”

Filipino pastor Chito Cordero of Word International Ministries says that the pressures of migration are complex and result to feelings of helplessness.

“High expectations and low energy levels equal high stress,” Pastor Chito explained. “Without a support group, the new immigrant’s energy is not being replenished. People are left to themselves with a diminishing sense of energy complicated by fear, loneliness and anxiety. The key is to connect with a church family with whom they can find strength and hope in God. Being among their peers with whom they can pour out their anxieties and express their problems can help them better cope with life. A church community is a place where you can find strength, encouragement, and love. As you feel cared for, feelings of extreme loneliness will be prevented together with the sense of hopelessness that leads to suicidal tendencies.”

(www.asianjournal.com)

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Toddler Dies After Drowning

by Malou L. Aguilar/Asianjournal.com

SAN JOSE – After days of battling for his life, 2-year-old Aizik Buno breathed his last on Saturday, March 29.

The son of Aaron and Ernamie Buno, Aizik (pronounced as “Isaac”) was found floating, face up, in about 18 inches of still water last week.   According to a news report by Mercury News, relatives said he wasn’t breathing and his face was blue, and his mother and two aunts, who are all nurses, performed CPR until the ambulance arrived at the scene.

Aizik’s family was at Oak Hill for the burial of Eusebio Agutos, his great grandfather, who moved from the Philippines to Salinas in the 1970s to farm.  This move opened the way for his family to migrate to the US and start a life in Silicon Valley.   Aizik’s mother is Agustos’ granddaughter, Ernamie. She and her husband, Aaron Buno, lived in San Jose and moved to Elk Grove about 1 1/2 years ago.   Aizik was an only child.

Aizik was in grave condition when he was brought to the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, according to police.  Doctors told the family that they needed a “miracle” for the little boy to pull through, as his lungs and kidneys were failing.  Aizik was declared brain-dead last Friday, but had been breathing through the help of a respirator. The family hoped for a miracle. He never regained consciousness.

Last Saturday, Aizik’s heart stopped beating, Authorities reported that his body was moved to the Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office on Sunday.

According to a 2004 CDC report, approximately 27% of deaths in toddlers are due to drowning and is the second leading cause of injury deaths for children aged 0 to 3.    Children under 1 year are most likely to drown in bathtubs, buckets, or toilets, whereas toddlers most often drown in residential swimming pools.

(www.asianjournal.com)

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Crime Suspects Hide in British Care Homes

by Cynthia Flores/Asianjournal.com

HUNDREDS of illegal immigrants, including a Filipino murder suspect and other criminals, are hiding in British care homes where they are caring for old and vulnerable people, British media reported recently. The immigration intelligence report, which was done two years ago but was just recently leaked to the media, stated that many of the illegal workers were using false names and forged identity documents to bypass police criminal records checks. Home Office ministers are turning a blind eye to the distressing information.

The situation was so bad, the report notes, that “there is potential for embarrassment if the immigration service is not seen to be actively addressing this issue”.  In some care homes, more than half the employees have entered the country illegally and are now being entrusted with caring for the elderly. The newspapers stressed that one illegal worker was a murder suspect from the Philippines who had used fraudulent references to get a job at a care home in Plymouth. The name and whereabouts of the Filipino suspect were not mentioned.

“Very few of these cases are acted on,” one official said. “Ministers have turned a blind eye in the obscene interests of costs. These cases are not seen as a priority and most of them simply go to the bottom of the pile.”

The 22-page intelligence report examined 110 investigations into the employment of suspected illegal immigrants in care homes in the south and southwest of England. The report discloses that Home Office ministers had failed to tackle the problem because most of the illegal care home workers were from countries such as Zimbabwe, Nigeria and South Africa, which were not on the priority list identifying those who should be targeted.

The document says the proliferation of untrained and unqualified illegal migrants, many with unknown backgrounds, poses a direct risk to some of the estimated 480,000 elderly and vulnerable people in the 21,000 care homes in England and Wales. It states: “If this is allowed to continue without action all have the potential to be damaging to the public and media perception of the immigration service.”

Liam Byrne, the immigration minister, said controls had been tightened up since the report. “Every visa applicant is now fingerprinted before they reach here, ID cards become compulsory for all foreign nationals from November and £10,000 on-the-spot fines are now in place for any illegal workers.”

(www.asianjournal.com)

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Illegals Not to Blame for Budget Problem – Gov

by Cynthia Flores/Asianjournal.com

In a meeting with local officials and business leaders in San Luis Obispo on Wednesday, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was asked by Diane Blakeslee, mother of Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo,) how the state should handle fiscal burdens created by illegal immigrants.

In his response, Schwarzenegger said it would be a “big mistake” to blame illegal immigrants for the state’s looming $8 billion budget problem.

“There is, you know, always a time like this where you start pointing the finger at various different elements of what creates the budget mess, and, you know, some may point the finger at illegal immigrants,” Schwarzenegger said. “I can guarantee you, I have been now four years in office in Sacramento, I don’t think that illegal immigration has created the mess that we are in.”

The governor has spent the last two weeks traveling to different cities to discuss the budget and ask local residents to pressure their legislators into early negotiations.

He was in San Luis Obispo to pitch his budget proposal to local officials and business leaders. His comments came a day after Assembly Republicans announced a package of 20 bills they said would help California reduce the “negative impact” that illegal immigrants have on the state budget. Included are proposals to repeal a law enabling undocumented students from paying in-state college tuition and demand more money from the federal government for housing illegal immigrants in state prisons.

Schwarzenegger said he believes the United States should pursue immigration reform and have tougher border controls. But he added that blaming illegal immigrants “because we have a budget problem would be a big mistake. I think we have to look at ourselves in Sacramento. We in Sacramento have the responsibility to come up with a coherent budget system, and we haven’t done that.”

(www.asianjournal.com)

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FilAm Witnesses Explosion Near LAX: Two firefighters critically injured

by Joseph Pimentel/Asianjournal.com

LOS ANGELES – A FilAm LA City Engineer witnessed the tragic events that killed one and critically injured another Los Angeles Firefighter. The explosion occured as they were investigating smoke coming out of the Water and Power Community Credit Union building last March 26.

Firefighter Brent A. Lovrien, a 10-year Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) veteran, died from injuries sustained in the explosion and Engineer Anthony J. Guzman sustained serious injuries and has undergone surgery, according to Ron Myers on the LAFD website.

“It is with great sadness that the men and women of the Los Angeles Fire Department share word of one City of Los Angeles Firefighter dying today in the line of duty,” said LAFD Spokesman Brian Humphrey.

A civilian was also injured but treated at the scene and released, according to the LAFD.

The LA Fire Department is conducting a “detailed multiagency investigation… to determine the exact nature of the explosion, as well as the precise cause and manner of Firefighter Lovrien’s death.

Explosions

The FilAm engineer said that the first of the three explosions around the streets surrounding LAX happened around 1:30 p.m. He did not want to be named because of a pending internal investigation on the matter.

LA City engineers were on Manchester and Sepulveda constructing a traffic median widening the street when they heard the first explosion. Along the Northbound lane on Manchester, a manhole lid weighing an estimated 300 pounds blew 25 to 30 feet in the air, said the engineer.

“It was a good three or four seconds before it [the manhole cover] landed,” he said. “It sounded like a truck fell over.”

Smoke began to come out of the sewer when the LAFD and LA Police Department were called to the scene. They closed the Northbound traffic lane along Manchester.

The engineer estimates that 25 minutes after the first manhole blew, a second manhole 150 feet away exploded on La Tijera and Sepulveda.

“Fire began to come out of the ground,” he said.

He said that somewhere in between the first and second explosion a police officer informed the firefighters that smoke was coming out of a door from the Water and Power Credit Union. The firefighters then asked the engineer and police officer to escort the wandering people and employees from nearby stores away from danger.

After the second manhole exploded, the firefighters tried to open the steel door covering an electrical vault when it suddenly exploded. “30 seconds after they asked us to escort those people and, bam, we turned around and part of the building was gone,” said the engineer.

Initial reports stated that the explosions were caused by an electrical system failure. However, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) reported that the underground explosion does not appear to be related to any failures with the electrical system.

“No power outages or other electrical problems have occurred in the area,” said Carol Tucker of the LADWP. She said that the electrical system facilities in the area are operating normally.

The LAFD suspect a gas leak caused the explosion, according to Tucker.

The FBI arrived later to conduct their own investigation.

(www.asianjournal.com)

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Another Witness in ZTE-NBN Deal Seeks Protection

by Joel Roja/Asianjournal.com

MANILA – Controversial witness Ador Mawanay on Monday showed up at the Department of Justice (DOJ) to seek protection for him and his family against physical threats allegedly made by Senator Panfilo Lacons if he would refuse to testify for the lawmaker in the ongoing Senate investigation into the anomalous national broadband network project with China’s ZTE Corp.

Mawanay met with Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez at the latter’s office where they discussed the supposed threats on his life.

The DOJ chief, however, is not taking Mawanay’s story hook-line-and sinker, thus, he directed him to submit a statement first so that the justice department could evaluate the authenticity of the threat.

Mawanay said Lacson first became controversial when he appeared in public to accuse Lacson of masterminding the 1999 disappearance of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR) camera operator Edgar Bentain for allegedly releasing the videotape of then presidential candidate Joseph Estrada and his gambling buddy Atong Ang.

Mawanay also claimed that Senator Loren Legarda purchased P8.9-million worth of smuggled cellular phones from him, and that he delivered a shoebox filled with cash to Senator Noli de Castro in 2001.

But, Mawanay later refuted his allegations saying that he was just pressured by then Armed Forces’ Intelligence chief Gen. Victor Corpus, then National Bureau of Investigation Director Reynaldo Wycoco, to issue the accusations.

This time, Mawanay is claiming that the camp of Lacson contacted him and ordered him to testify in the ongoing ZTE hearings at the Senate or else he and his family would be harmed.

He also claimed that he came to know about the ZTE deal as he has connections who purportedly showed him the overseas bank accounts of some of the individuals alleged involved in the scam.

“I told him to file a report at the police regarding the threats made against him life, after which I advised him to submit a written statement at the DOJ, so that we can evaluate it,” the DOJ secretary added.

Gonzalez said that this is to ensure that the DOJ is not being misled by the controversial witness who has the habit making inaccurate and unproven allegations in the past.

“I am inclined to take his statements with a grain of salt,” Gonzalez added while admitting that Mawanay was referred to the DOJ by House Speaker Prospero Nograles.

(www.asianjournal.com)

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