Philippines Today

Switch to desktop
Philippines Today

Philippines Today

As founder of MOBILE SIGNING SERVICES, I've mentioned in my previous columns that to escape long lines and long waiting time for the notarization and authentication of Affidavits, Special Power of Attorney (SPA), follow-up of passports and other business, avoid going to the Philippine Consulate Office in San Francisco on Mondays unless it's extremely urgent and necessary.


Due to the urgent need and special request of Jose Sabado and his wife Aida Sabado from San Bruno, California, I submitted their notarized Special Power of Attorney (SPA) for authentication at the Philippine Consulate Office last Monday, August 6, 2018.


For those who haven't visited the Philippine Consulate Office at 447 Sutter Street, San Francisco, California recently, here's the new procedures as follows: 1.I registered at the security in the lobby and left my I.D. (California Driver's License); 2. Passed through the security screening; 3. I took ticket for authentication at the automatic dispenser in the lobby; 4. Proceeded to second floor for review of documents; 5. After review of documents, I got corresponding ticket for amount of authentication fee to be paid at the Cashier; 6. Took elevator to the sixth floor and paid corresponding authentication fee at the Cashier; 7. Got receipt of payment with written time to pick-up authenticated documents at the adjacent Release Counter.


August 6, 2018 was the worst Monday I've experienced and observed. Upon entrance to the lobby, there was already very long line and so many people at the lobby. On the second floor, there were also so many people waiting for their numbers to be called. When I arrived on the sixth floor, there were so many people that the chairs were fully occupied with so many “kababayans” standing at the back. While standing at the back, I was sandwiched between a Pinay from San Jose, California and a Pinoy from Sacramento, California.


The Pinay, who was standing on my left, told me that she and her husband drove to the Philippine Consulate Office in San Francisco from San Jose, California. She narrated that her husband unknowingly parked in a tow away zone. When her husband checked his car, it was already towed away. They'll pay $500 to recover their car. I advised the Pinay that next time, they should park their car at the Stockton Garage or at the Sutter Garage in front of the Philippine Consulate Office.


The Pinoy, who was standing on my right, narrated his frustration and very long waiting time. “Sobrang dalawang oras ang pag-antayko sa second floor.” ( I waited for more than two hours in the second floor). “Dito sa sixth floor sobrang apat na oras na akong nag-aantay.” (In this sixth floor, I've already waited for more than four hours.). The Pinoy, who drove all the way from Sacramento, California, wished that there's a way to avoid taking off from work and escape the long line and very long waiting period in following-up the notarization and authentication of SPA and other documents at the Philippine Consulate Office in San Francisco, California


YES, there is a way to solve the problems and frustrations of our Pinay and Pinor “kababayans.” Just follow the example of Mr. Jose Sabado and Mrs. Aida Sabado from San Bruno, California who sought the assistance and help of accredited Notary Public with MOBILE SIGNIING SERVICES..


Here are  the benefits of MOBILE SIGNING SERVICES: 1. AVOID TAKING OFF FROM WORK- You don't need to take off from work and go personally to the Philippine Consulate Office if documents were notarized by accredited Notary Public. Through MOBILE SIGNING SERVICES, we can follow-up the authentication of notarized documents at the Philippine Consulate Office in San Francisco.


2. FLEXIBLE APPOINTMENTS - Appointments with accredited Notary Public are very flexible during regular office hours or after office hours on week days and week ends at homes, office, schools, restaurants, hospitals, BART lobby, convalescent homes, post office lobby and other locations.


3. SAVINGS ON DOCUMENTS PREPARATION - We have ready blank forms for Affidavits. Special Power of Attorney, Parental Travel Permit, etc. In case of typing or document preparation, our para-legal partner charges only $60 or less per document. If you go to a lawyer, you'll be charged $150, $200 or more per document.


4. CONVENIENCE AND PEACE OF MIND - There is total convenience and peace of mind with the services of accredited Notary Public and follow-up assistance through MOBILE SIGNING SERVICES. In fact, most of the time, it is more economical and convenient to seek to help and assistance of accredited Notary Public with MOBILE SIGNING SERVICES than personally going to the Philippine Consulate Office in San Francisco, California.


For immediate assistance and help in the notarization and authentication of Affidavits, Special Power of Attorney, Parental Travel Permit and other documents needed in the Philippines and in California, call: (650)438-3531 or (415)584-7095 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


(ART GABOT MADLAING is a commissioned Notary Public and licensed Real Estate Broker (DRE#00635976) in California since 1981. He is accredited Notary Public by the Philippine Consul General in San Francisco. Art is founder of FITNESS FOR HUMANITY (aka FITNESS FOR CHRIST) and ACAPINOY. He is active Evangelist with the GOLDEN GATE CHURCH OF CHRIST in San Francisco, California.)


Floods in the metropolis

Published in Editorial & Other Articles

When will Filipinos ever learn?


This poser is raised every time there is heavy downpour which comes with big floods in Metro Manila and other areas in the country. During the latest floodings, at least 15 were killed, thousands were evacuated, properties and crops, livestock and fishponds were destroyed. Then classes, offices, courts, flights are suspended for as long as floodwaters and rains threaten certain areas. Factories too are affected and so production is at stand still.


What is clearly visible during the last heavy rains in Metro Manila was the coming fast of water from the mountains going into Marikina, and the lower portion of the metropolis and areas near the mountains and hills. Then the water comes with mud and soil, indicating that the mountains in Rizal, Bulacan and Laguna and trees therein may have been wantonly destroyed.


The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) should do something about this destruction of natural resources, especially by the profit-oriented and greedy subdivision developers, miners and builders of factories and the quarry operators. While the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) has initiated with the private water concessioners and civic groups the planting of trees in the mountains, especially in the watersheds near the water sources and reservoir, all citizens should take it upon themselves to join the initiative and report people and groups destroying the mountains which are among the best protection against floods.

20 million U.S. immigrants could face deportation

Published in Perry Scope

Since Donald J. Trump was elected President, legal and illegal immigrants are no longer safe from deportation even when they follow the law to a tee.  According to news reports, the Trump administration is “expected to issue a proposal in coming weeks that would make it harder for legal immigrants and illegal immigrants to become citizens.”  Other reports said that Trump’s plan to deport them, which doesn’t need congressional approval, was part of White House senior adviser Stephen Miller’s plan to limit the number of immigrants who could obtain legal status in the U.S. each year.  His goal is to cut legal immigration in half and get rid of all illegal immigrants.


Who is Stephen Miller? 


Stephen Miller is Trump’s 32-year old senior policy advisor, speechwriter, anti-immigration policy chief, and right-hand troll.  A known provocateur, Miller is a white nationalist who supports rightwing, white supremacist, and alt-right causes.  An observer once described him as someone who “likes getting s rise out of people in a very sociopathic way.”


In his job in the White House, Miller developed policies such as the barring of individuals from Muslim majority countries, cuts to legal immigration, family separation, and the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).   He used his influence in the White House to subvert bipartisan legislation that would have provided permanent protections for “Dreamers.” Dreamers are the young people – mostly Hispanic – who benefitted from former President Barack Obama’s DACA executive order when the DREAM Act -- Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors -- failed to pass in Congress several times.  In September 2017, Trump rescinded DACA that has kept nearly 800,000 young immigrants from deportation since 2012.  Recently, he fashioned Trump’s controversial “Zero Tolerance Policy” that forcibly separated migrant children from their parents at the US-Mexico border.  And now, Miller’s ultimate dream of ridding the country of immigrants is about to become a reality. 


But Miller seems to be running away from reality in regard to his family roots.  His uncle David Glosser, a retired neuropsychologist and Miller’s uncle on his mother’s side, said that Miller’s great-great-grandfather Wolf-Leib Glosser left the village of Antopol in what is now Belarus amid “violent anti-Jewish pogroms” there and came to the US.  He landed on Ellis Island in 1903 and within a few years was able to bring over the rest of his family. 


“I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, who is an educated man and well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country,” Glosser wrote.


 Miller’s blueprint 

 Miller’s master plan is to deport immigrants – legal and illegal – based on what he believed are “violations” of immigration laws.  His rulemaking proposal targets legal immigrants (green card holders) in the U.S. who have used or whose household members have used the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Food Stamp and other social programs, including the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for the aged.  For participating in these social programs, illegal immigrants could be hindered from obtaining legal status, while legal immigrants’ application for citizenship could be imperiled.  In both cases, “violators” could be deported.  Those hardest hit are immigrants, mostly people of color, who are working in low-paying jobs that are not enough to support their families.   


The crux of the matter is in a document called “affidavit of support,” which is required of all sponsors to execute.  Basically, it is a document an individual (sponsor) signs to accept financial responsibility for another person (new immigrant), usually a relative, who is coming to the United States to live permanently.  An affidavit of support is legally enforceable; the sponsor's responsibility usually lasts until the family member or other individual either becomes a U.S. citizen, or can be credited with 40 quarters of work (usually 10 years). [Source: US Citizenship and Immigration Services]


The anti-immigrant blueprint designed by Miller and his white nationalist cohorts in the Trump administration first came to fruition in the early months of the Trump presidency.  The  White House is currently reviewing the draft and once Trump approves it, it will be published in the Federal Register; thus, making it a law of the land. 


Elderly immigrants


One of the groups that would be hardest hit by Miller’s anti-immigration initiative are elderly immigrants who were sponsored by their children under the Family Reunification law, which Trump refers to as “chain migration.”   Since a majority of them were admitted to the U.S. in their senior years, they don’t have Social Security benefits and therefore don’t have any earnings or income.  As such, they would qualify to receive SSI benefits.  In addition, SSI is also used to help blind and disabled people, who have little or no income.  It also provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. 


The Family Reunification law allows the immigration of “immediate relatives” of US citizens, which is not subject to any annual visa numerical limits.  Immediate relatives are: (1) Spouses and unmarried children of US citizens; (2) Parents of US citizens; and (3) Widows, widowers, and children of deceased US citizens.


Chain migration           


Another anti-immigration policy that Miller has been working on is “chain migration.”  On January 8, 2018, The Hill reported: “Miller pushed the White House message on immigration reform, calling for a border wall and an end to ‘chain’ migration, the process by which an immigrant can petition to bring family members to the United States, as well as the adjustment of the country's visa lottery system.”  But didn’t Miller realize that it was chain migration that made it possible for his family to enter the U.S. beginning in 1903?


It is interesting to note New York Times’ headline on August 9, 2018 that says: “Melania Trump’s Parents Become U.S. Citizens, Using ‘Chain Migration’ Trump Hates.”  The report said that Trump’s Slovenian in-laws, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, became US citizens by taking advantage of the Family Reunification program.  When their lawyer, Michael Wildes, was asked if the Knavses had obtained citizenship through “chain migration,” which Trump has repeatedly and vehemently denounced, he said, “I suppose.  Chain migration is a ‘dirtier’ way of characterizing the bedrock of our immigration process when it comes to family reunification.”


Punishing immigrants


Among the ethnic groups of immigrants that would suffer most under these changes to immigration laws are Filipinos. Filipinos, who are known for their close family ties, are arguably the largest group of citizens and legal immigrants who have sponsored their elderly parents to avail of Family Reunification Laws. 


One month into Trump’s administration, a draft executive order under consideration would have widespread chilling effects for legal immigrants including the prospective ones who have been waiting for many years – as much as 20 years -- to reunify with their relatives.  Trump started attacking the process of sponsoring relatives as “chain immigration” and he vowed to stop it.  But it’s not limited to legal immigrants.  He also targeted illegal immigrants. 


Once implemented, this sinister attempt to punish immigrants could result in mass deportation of an estimated 20 million legal and illegal immigrants -- Filipinos and other people of color.  At no time in US history had this uprooting of immigrant families had been tried before.  However, the large number of Filipinos working in the healthcare industry could have a crippling effect in hospitals, clinics, medical and nursing professions, and the elderly care home industry, which is growing fast due to the 60 million aging “baby boomers.”


If Trump proceeds with the deportation of an estimated 20 million immigrants, the result could be catastrophic to the healthcare, agricultural, hotel and entertainment, sanitation, information technology, and other industries, which would have a crippling effect on the economy for lack of qualified professionals and skilled workers. 


(This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

3 children, brother and wife funneled $20-M into hotel, properties in California



INDICTED IN U.S. Alleged pork barrel scam queen Janet Lim Napoles in a police mug shot and her daughter Jeane Catherine in one of her social media posts on her lavish lifestyle in the US which triggered a US investigation and eventual filing of charges.


LOS ANGELES/MANILA – The US Department of Justice has secured the indictment for money laundering and conspiracy involving $20 million (over P1 billion) alleged Philippine pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles, her three children, a brother and his wife and as such would face extradition so they will be tried by US courts.


Indicted last July 31 (US time) with Janet Napoles, 54, by a federal grand jury for conspiring to funnel in and out of the United States approximately $20 million in Philippine public funds obtained through a multi-year bribery and fraud scheme were childdren Jo Christine Napoles, 34; James Christopher Napoles, 33; Jeane Catherine Napoles, 28; and brother Reynald Luy Lim, 52, and his wife Ana Marie Lim, 47.


The older Napoles is currently detained at the Philippine National Police detention center in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City and all five of her family members, who were named defendants in the money laundering case in the United States (US), are now all in the country after Jeane Catherine, who earlier faced P17 million tax evasion case but eventually cleared, left the country last July 27 for Bali, Indonesia and has since returned to Manila.

The Philippine government in February provisionally accepted Napoles as a state witness, a decision which caused the resignation of then Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre. She was removed from the WPP by the new justice secretary Menardo Guevarra last May. 


Lawyer Ian Encarnacion, who fetched Jean Catherine at the airport, assured his client was ready to face the cases lodged not only in the Philippines but also those in the US.


"She (Jean Catherine) is here in the Philippines and she will face all the cases against her, both here and abroad.  We maintain our client's innocence and we look forward to having these cases dismissed," Encarnacion said.


Five years ago, Jeane posted on social media her luxurious and lavish lifestyle in Los Angeles where she owns a unit at the Ritz Carlton Residences building worth $800, 000 to $9.3 million. Her ostentatious display of wealth tipped off US authorities and conducted an investigation which led to the filing of charges against her.


The young Jeane Napoles has also studied at prestigious Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise with $30, 000 yearly tuition fee. She also owns a condo unit worth $1.475 million.


In September 2012, US investigators discovered the fraud during the audit before it was exposed in the Philippines. Three years later, she was ordered arrested after failing to attend her arraignment on the tax charges. In 2016, Napoles refused to enter a plea during her arraignment and remained in the country unemployed and eventually left US for the Philippines.


 Mrs. Napoles spent two years at the Correctional Institution for Women in Mandaluyong City following a guilty verdict meted out to her by a Makati City judge for the serious illegal detention of her cousin Benhur Luy, the primary whistleblower in the scam, but she was later acquitted of that charge by the Court of Appeals.


In Manila, Mrs. Napoles has five plunder cases before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan, and dozens of graft and malversation cases in connection with the P10 billion PDAF scam. Her children Jo Christine and James Cristopher are facing a hundred counts of graft and malversation before the Sandiganbayan over their connection to the P900 million Malampaya fund scam.


 Malacañang said the indictment of Janet Lim-Napoles before the United States Department of Justice has strengthened the government’s case against the alleged pork barrel scam mastermind.


“We view the United States federal grand jury indictment against Mrs. Janet Lim-Napoles as a positive development, as it bolsters the government’s case against her before the Sanddiganbayan,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.


“The charge of money laundering against Mrs. Napoles and her co-defendants shows that there is reason to believe that they attempted to retain the ill-gotten gains from the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam,” Roque said.


Roque said he believed that with the continuous coordination with US authorities, the funds that Napoles and her co-defendants stashed will soon be returned for the benefit of Filipinos.


“As more of Mrs. Napoles’ schemes come to light, it becomes imperative to charge all those who illegal profited from her transactions, regardless of their position or political affiliation,” Roque said.


Mrs. previously asked the Supreme Court to stop her indictment in the PDAF cases but her petitions had been dismissed.


The Department of Justice (DOJ) of the Philippines is coordinating with its American counterpart regarding the charges against Mrs. Napoles and her five family members, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.


 “We have been quietly working together with the US (Department) of Justice regarding the conspiracy to commit money laundering cases. We welcome this development, as it paves the way for the return of the people's money to our national treasury,” Guevarra said.


Guevarra, however, stressed that the cases against Napoles in the Philippines would have to be settled first before she can be extradited to the US.


“Although we cannot extradite Napoles until her cases in Philippine courts have been terminated, the DOJ will extend all assistance to its US counterpart in prosecuting the money laundering cases, and in ensuring the people's money is returned in due time to our national treasury,” he added.


He said some family members of Napoles who are not indicted in the Philippines may be extradited to the US.


In a statement, the US Department of Justice said four defendants together with approximately 20 Philippines legislators and other government officials not charged in U.S. indictments converted to their own benefit hundreds of millions of dollars in Philippine public funds through the intricate scheme and then transmitted approximately $20 million from that scheme into the United States to purchase assets, including real property and luxury vehicles.


The US justice department said the defendants fraudulently converted money from a lump-sum discretionary “Priority Development Assistance Fund” granted to each member of the Philippines Congress as well as other government funds designed to benefit poor Filipinos.


Approximately $20 million of those funds were diverted to money remitters in the Philippines and then wired to Southern California bank accounts where the money was used to purchase real estate, shares in two businesses, two Porsche Boxsters, and finance the living expenses of three family members residing in the United States: Jeane Napoles, Reynald Lim, and Ana Lim.


It was reported two of the properties were a hotel near Disneyland and an apartment.


The charges of Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, Domestic Money Laundering and International Money Laundering handed down pertain to events beginning in September 2012 and continuing through August 2014. In September 2012, an audit discovered the fraud. In July 2013, the fraud and the U.S. proceeds were exposed in the Philippine press.


 In August 2013, Jannet Napoles was arrested by Philippine authorities and Napoles family bank accounts were frozen in the Philippines. Thereafter, Napoles and her family members attempted to quietly liquidate the assets in the United States, secretly repatriate most of the resulting funds back to the Philippines and to other accounts in the U.S. and United Kingdom, and disburse some of the funds to Jeane Napoles, who used the money to finance her lifestyle and open a fashion business.


“Even after Jannet Napoles made a highly publicized statement admitting that she had bribed Philippine legislators in connection with these ‘ghost projects,’ the defendants attempted to convert the proceeds of this crime to their own use,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna.


“The efforts of the Philippine and American investigators demonstrates that there are consequences to abusing the public trust and we hope to deter such conduct in the future. To do this, we will work with our Philippine counterparts to secure the extradition of the defendants to the United States,” Hanna said.


According to court documents, approximately $12.5 million in Southern California real estate has been seized by the United States Attorney’s Office and is subject to a civil forfeiture case pending before United States District Judge James V. Selna.


If the court orders the assets forfeited, the United States will work with Philippine officials in an attempt to return the stolen funds back to the Philippine government, the US justice department said.


U.S. authorities have received ongoing cooperation and substantial assistance from the Philippine government, including the Department of Justice, the Office of the Ombudsman, the Anti-Money Laundering Council, and the Commission on Audit, which responded to official requests pursuant to the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between the Philippines and the United States and through the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.


The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Daniel O’Brien, Deputy Chief of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section.


Philippine Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, however, stressed that the cases against Napoles in the Philippines would have to be settled first before she can be extradited to the US.


“Although we cannot extradite Napoles until her cases in Philippine courts have been terminated, the DOJ will extend all assistance to its US counterpart in prosecuting the money laundering cases, and in ensuring the people's money is returned in due time to our national treasury,” he added.


The Justice Department has yet to receive a copy of the formal indictment from its American counterpart.


“From what I know, there is a separate case for civil forfeiture in the US that will trigger the return of the laundered money to the Philippines. However, that forfeiture case will have to await the outcome of the money laundering and other fraud cases against Napoles and her family,” Guevarra said.


He added that two options are available concerning Napoles’ possible extradition to the US: (1) defer extradition proceedings until the Philippine case is terminated and/or she has served her sentence; or (2) temporarily surrender her to the requesting state so that she may be prosecuted there, subject to terms and conditions as may be agreed upon by the Philippines and the US.


The US has to file a formal request for the Philippine justice department to commence extradition proceedings in a domestic court, which will then determine whether Napoles is extraditable.


Napoles is being accused of creating bogus non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or the so-called Napoles NGOs that connived with politicians and government officials in the country in a scam involving the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or pork barrel fund. Politicians and lawmakers allegedly got kickbacks from the scam.


Former senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada and Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., their staff and several other politicians and government officials have been tagged in the scam.


Relatives of Janet Lim Napoles, who had been indicted for allegedly conspiring to illegally transmit Philippine government funds worth US$20 million to the United States, can be extradited provided that they are not facing charges in the country, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said.


“Those (indicted Napoles kin) who are here and not facing charges in Philippine courts may be the subject of a request for extradition; those who are in the US may be immediately arrested,” Guevarra said.


 “We shall continue to extend legal assistance to our US counterparts, including the possible extradition of certain persons who might be found here,” he added.


Napoles was admitted to the program on Feb. 27, wherein the DOJ granted her security protection for witness duty only for a period not exceeding 90 days, Guevarra said.


Napoles had requested to be admitted into the WPP of the DOJ due to alleged threats to her personal security, specifically requesting protection by way of transfer from her place of detention at Camp Bagong Diwa.


“Considering the denial of Napoles’ urgent motion for transfer of custody to the DOJ WPSBP by the 1st, 3rd and 5th Divisions of the Sandiganbayan, the main purpose of which Napoles had sought admission into WPSBP, has become moot and academic,” Guevarra said in a statement.


“As there has been no further claim of threats to her personal security inside the Camp Bagong Diwa, the Secretary of Justice has found no reason to extend further Napoles’ provisional coverage under WPP,” he noted.

Copyrighted for Philippines Today Tel: (650) 872-3200. Website developed by:

Top Desktop version