Daily Archives: September 8, 2008

Police apprehend Filipino sexual assault suspect

by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress

SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Police Department arrested a Filipino sexual assault suspect after he turned himself in last Sept. 5, Friday.

For about two weeks, police officers had been searching for FilAm Horacio Candia Jr., who was wanted for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman near 16th Street and Carolina in the Potrero District in San Francisco on Aug. 22. The victim managed to escape from his vehicle and called the police.

According to reports, Candia was arrested in his attorney’s office last Friday.

Candia is a former San Francisco Fire Department firefighter. After nine years, he was terminated in 2000 for refusing a drug test, according to reports.

Police alleged that Candia shows his badge to facilitate his encounters with women. He then sexually assaults them, using physical violence, according to SF Police officials.

“He lured a woman into a false sense of security,” police Inspector Elaine Economus said to the San Francisco Chronicle. “He said, ‘I’m a firefighter, everybody loves us, you can trust me.’”

The 38-year-old Candia is charged with three counts of forced oral copulation, one count of sexual battery, one count of making terrorist threats, and one count of false imprisonment.  (www.asianjournal.com)

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The Miracle Man

by Momar Visaya/AJPress
FLUSHING MEADOWS – Father Fernando Suarez has been called a lot of things: priest, healer, miracle worker, servant of God. The healing priest, a chemical engineer by profession, is also an avid tennis fan.
For two days that he was in New York City last week, Fr. Suarez dropped by the Billie Jean King Tennis Center to catch a couple of tennis games, including the exciting match between 8th seed Andy Roddick and upcoming Latvian hotshot Ernests Gulbis.

Just before the third round match Sunday, Aug. 31 between third seed Novak Djokovic from Serbia and Croatia’s Marin Cilic, Fr. Suarez sat down with the Asian Journal for a light chat just outside the famed Arthur Ashe Stadium.

A self-confessed Rafael Nadal fan, Fr. Suarez said that he tries to play tennis regularly, or when his schedules would allow. “Tennis is a good way to release stress and it is also a very good sport. Apart from that, I pray,” he said.

For two days that he was in New York City last week, Fr. Suarez dropped by the Billie Jean King Tennis Center to catch a couple of tennis games, including the exciting match between 8th seed Andy Roddick and upcoming Latvian hotshot Ernests Gulbis.

Just before the third round match Sunday, Aug. 31 between third seed Novak Djokovic from Serbia and Croatia’s Marin Cilic, Fr. Suarez sat down with the Asian Journal for a light chat just outside the famed Arthur Ashe Stadium.

A self-confessed Rafael Nadal fan, Fr. Suarez said that he tries to play tennis regularly, or when his schedules would allow. “Tennis is a good way to release stress and it is also a very good sport. Apart from that, I pray,” he said.

Global Healing Center

Fr. Suarez also shared that starting this September, he will already be based for good in Batangas City, where he will, among other things, oversee the construction of a sacred global healing center at Montemaria or “mountain of Mary”.

The center at Montemaria will house the tallest statue of Mary in the world that will stand 101 meters (33 stories) high upon completion and will serve as an apostolic and evangelization center for pilgrims wanting to experience a deeper personal relationship with God.

The Oratory of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Montemaria will include a Rosary Garden, Stations of the Cross, Eucharistic Adoration Chapel, Saint Joseph Chapel, Divine Mercy Chapel, House of Mary, House of Joseph, Scala Santa, Infant Jesus Chapel, and retreat houses that will serve as a way station for pilgrims, complete with board and lodging, souvenir shops, a conference center and an international center for the poor.

Montemaria is an ambitious project that seeks to create an 18-hectare haven for pilgrims and a place for prayer dedicated to Mary, Mother of the Poor. The megashrine is expected to be finished in about five years and the statue of Our Lady of the Poor will stand taller than the Statue of Liberty here in New York and the Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.

There have been written reports that in June 1981, six children in the little town of Medjugorje received apparitions from the “Queen of Peace” where in one of them, the Philippines was mentioned as a global spiritual center.

A true Marian devotee, Fr. Suarez said he felt his love for the Virgin Mary when he was around 2 to 3 years old. 

Coming Home

This will be a homecoming of sorts for the healing priest since he was born in Butong in the town of Taal, Batangas in 1967. He went to Adamson University to finish his degree in chemical engineering and worked for an oil company in Batangas for five years before moving to Canada where he was based since 1995.

In 1997 he joined the Companions of the Cross religious community of priests and seminarians, founded by Rev. Robert Bedard in 1985 in Ottawa, Canada, and Fr. Suarez was ordained to the priesthood in 2002.

Fr. Suarez began noticing his gift of healing two decades earlier, when he was only 16 years old. Outside the Quiapo church, the then fresh high school graduate saw an old crippled woman. He asked her to pray with him and he felt her bones growing. The young man got scared, and for 20 years, he kept this secret.

Being a healing priest has propelled him to a celebrity status, which has its pros and cons and Fr. Suarez said he is mindful of both.

“Marami kang natutulungan, maraming bumabalik sa simbahan. Nagkakaroon ng conversion, ng healing. Nagkakaroon ng hope ang mga tao. On the other hand, you live under the microscope, lahat ng ikinikilos mo, napapansin. Hindi mo rin naman mapi-please lahat ng tao. Pinababayaan ko na lang yun,” he said.
 
“I never ever thought na aabot sa level na ito yung paniniwala ng mga tao sa akin. I did not even consider it was possible before pero nangyari eh,” he shared.

From the very beginning, Fr. Suarez said that the calling was there, “I just did not have enough courage to pursue it. I struggled to understand this unusual gift.”

Believing

“As far as I know, marami pa rin sa ating mga Pilipino ang believers, lalo na sa ministry ko. Karamihan sa mga maysakit can’t help but be believers kasi pag nangangailangan na ang tao, wala na silang ibang mapupuntahan kundi ang Diyos din,” Fr. Suarez explained.

Early this year, Fr. Suarez had a healing mass in Los Angeles attended by thousands of people at the L.A. Sports Arena. It was said to be the biggest healing mass the priest has ever done in the United States.

Fr. Suarez gets really busy during ministry and healing masses. “Napakaraming maysakit na tumatawag at humihingi ng tulong. Sana lang mapagbigyan ko silang lahat,” the soft-spoken priest said.

Before he embarks on every healing mass, Fr. Suarez said he prepares by saying a personal prayer. “I compose myself and I go to confession. Nililinis ko ang sarili ko to make sure na wala akong galit, hinanakit o guilt sa katawan,” he shared.

There are already plans for more healing masses in different U.S. cities but he said that there are things to be ironed out before anything is finalized.

Between now and the time he flies to the Philippines to stay there for good, Fr. Suarez will be holding healing masses in Ottawa and Vancouver in Canada.

A true believer from the start, Fr. Suarez hopes to inspire more people as he continues his quest to spread God’s word around the world through healing masses, retreats and missions.

Fr. Suarez also shared that starting this September, he will already be based for good in Batangas City, where he will, among other things, oversee the construction of a sacred global healing center at Montemaria or “mountain of Mary”.

The center at Montemaria will house the tallest statue of Mary in the world that will stand 101 meters (33 stories) high upon completion and will serve as an apostolic and evangelization center for pilgrims wanting to experience a deeper personal relationship with God.

The Oratory of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Montemaria will include a Rosary Garden, Stations of the Cross, Eucharistic Adoration Chapel, Saint Joseph Chapel, Divine Mercy Chapel, House of Mary, House of Joseph, Scala Santa, Infant Jesus Chapel, and retreat houses that will serve as a way station for pilgrims, complete with board and lodging, souvenir shops, a conference center and an international center for the poor.

Montemaria is an ambitious project that seeks to create an 18-hectare haven for pilgrims and a place for prayer dedicated to Mary, Mother of the Poor. The megashrine is expected to be finished in about five years and the statue of Our Lady of the Poor will stand taller than the Statue of Liberty here in New York and the Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.

There have been written reports that in June 1981, six children in the little town of Medjugorje received apparitions from the “Queen of Peace” where in one of them, the Philippines was mentioned as a global spiritual center.

A true Marian devotee, Fr. Suarez said he felt his love for the Virgin Mary when he was around 2 to 3 years old.

Coming Home

This will be a homecoming of sorts for the healing priest since he was born in Butong in the town of Taal, Batangas in 1967. He went to Adamson University to finish his degree in chemical engineering and worked for an oil company in Batangas for five years before moving to Canada where he was based since 1995.

In 1997 he joined the Companions of the Cross religious community of priests and seminarians, founded by Rev. Robert Bedard in 1985 in Ottawa, Canada, and Fr. Suarez was ordained to the priesthood in 2002.

Fr. Suarez began noticing his gift of healing two decades earlier, when he was only 16 years old. Outside the Quiapo church, the then fresh high school graduate saw an old crippled woman. He asked her to pray with him and he felt her bones growing. The young man got scared, and for 20 years, he kept this secret.

Being a healing priest has propelled him to a celebrity status, which has its pros and cons and Fr. Suarez said he is mindful of both.

“Marami kang natutulungan, maraming bumabalik sa simbahan. Nagkakaroon ng conversion, ng healing. Nagkakaroon ng hope ang mga tao. On the other hand, you live under the microscope, lahat ng ikinikilos mo, napapansin. Hindi mo rin naman mapi-please lahat ng tao. Pinababayaan ko na lang yun,” he said.

“I never ever thought na aabot sa level na ito yung paniniwala ng mga tao sa akin. I did not even consider it was possible before pero nangyari eh,” he shared.

From the very beginning, Fr. Suarez said that the calling was there, “I just did not have enough courage to pursue it. I struggled to understand this unusual gift.”  (www.asianjournal.com)

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GALING PINOY: The Prince of Heroes

by Cynthia de Castro/AJPress
People, young and old alike, love comic book heroes. They enjoy stories of courageous men and women who battle evil and overcome the odds. They dream of being mighty, strong and powerful like superheroes Batman and Superman. The past years, there have been new comic book heroes for the new generation. You see them in the very popular Neotopia series, the Courageous Princess, the Battle Girlz, DragonPro and DinoWars. Behind these famous comic heroes is a Filipino comics creator, writer and illustrator, Rod Espinosa.
Born in the Philippines but based in Texas since 2001, Espinosa has been recognized in the American comic book industry for his outstanding work. Rod’s work on “The Courageous Princess” got him on the nomination list for “Promising New Talent” and also “Best Artist” for the 2000 Ignatz Awards and the 2002 Will Eisner Award nomination list for “Best Title for Younger Readers”. The Ignatz Award recognizes outstanding achievements in comics and cartooning while the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards are considered the “Oscars” of the comic book industry. 

Rod graduated from the Don Bosco Technical College with a certificate in architectural drafting and got a degree in advertising art from University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila. He worked for seven years in various companies in the fields of advertising, software entertainment and film before deciding to pursue a career in the comic book industry. He came to San Antonio, Texas in 2001 to work full-time as a comic book editor and illustrator.

“I like being an illustrator because I get to keep my own hours,” said Rod.  “Actually, I work more hours than normal, but I get to decide when and where, which is a good trade-off. That’s probably the nice thing about being a comic book artist. I can get my projects done early if I work extra hours during the week. It also makes me feel like I’m not part of the rat race. I count myself lucky I don’t have the daily commute or the clockwork hours some people have,” he explained.

As both writer and artist, Rod has also authored theNeotopia series which was published in graphic novel form. In 2006,  Novotopia, the German edition of Neotopia, got a nomination for the Max und Moritz Prize in the category ‘Bester Comic für Kinder’ (best comic book for younger audience). Rod’s comic books include the Battle Girlz series, a Alice in Wonderland, The Alamo, DinoWars, and Metadocs. 

He has also written and conceptualized popular Antarctic Press titles such as  Hunt Monsters, and Herc and Thor.

Aside from comic books, Espinosa has also written and illustrated non-fiction works such as a series of American History comic books dealing with the subjects of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Lewis and Clark, The Boston Tea Party, The Alamo, Jackie Robinson, The Underground Railroad, Abraham Lincoln, Patrick Henry, Cesar Chavez, The American Revolution, the Transcontinental Railroad, and Clara Barton. 

He has also created graphic classic novels such as: Around the World in Eighty Days,  Moby-Dick, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and William Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. 

Writing and illustrating non-fiction books has been a new experience for Rod. He described it as ” outside the usual realm of the direct market”. Rod said,” Writing and drawing non-fiction has trained me further in doing realistic people. I have learned a lot. Artistically, I’m glad I improved. I am having fun drawing the characters as I based their likenesses on people I know.” 

Espinosa takes great pride in his newest work, the Prince of Heroes, which is an online graphic novel. “It has scenes never before seen in any other format. You get new excitement and entertainment! A treat for online readers,” said Rod. Readers can enjoy Espinosa’s newest work at http://www.princeofheroes.com.

Like any accomplished man will tell you, it takes a lot of hard work to be successful. Rod Espinosa has worked hard to be where he is right now, and all his labor has paid off well. “My work does require a lot of discipline as we are our own task managers, but in the end, it’s worth it,” admitted the “Prince of comic heroes”.   (www.asianjournal.com)

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