Immigration

Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge to organize US opposition to Marcos

I have crossed the Golden Gate Bridge more than 100 times in the 46 years that I have lived in San Francisco but my most memorable crossing occurred 45 years ago this past week when I rode in a 4-car convoy for a weekend retreat at Camp Arequipa, a girl scout camp in Fairfax, Marin County. There were about 20 of us, young Filipino activists from all over the U.S. who were attending a conference of correspondents and distributors of the Kalayaan International, a radical monthly community newspaper which I started in my tiny room ($50 a month) at the International Hotel in San Francisco's Manilatown in May of 1971.
One of the members of our Kalayaan Collective, Cynthia Maglaya, a veteran of the First Quarter Storm (FQS) of activism in the Philippines, suggested the conference to “consolidate the progressive forces” among Filipinos in the US. While our radical paper drew support from "movement" activists who had immigrated to the US, it also attracted Filipino Americans who had never even visited the Philippines and could not speak Tagalog or Ilocano but who were finding their Filipino identity consciousness within the broader Third World and Asian American movements sweeping the country.
We initially planned our conference for April 1972 but this was postponed to June 1972 and finally to September 1972.
MEETING AT A GIRL SCOUT CAMPcollage1
Among those flying in, or driving up, to San Francisco for the Kalayaan conference were: Eddie Escultura from Chicago, Greg Santillan from Philadelphia, Jaime Geaga and Esther Soriano from Los Angeles, Paul Bagnas and Felix Tuyay from San Diego, Terry Bautista and Sylvia Savellano from Oakland, John Foz and Joe Tolero from Daly City, John Silva, Tessie Zaragoza and Bruce Occena from Berkeley, Cathi Tactaquin from Salinas, Emil de Guzman, Bill Sorro, Gil Mangaoang, Estella Habal and Gil Carillo from San Francisco.
We were crossing the Golden Gate Bridge and joyfully basking in the warm glow of a glorious sunset when suddenly the news blared out over the radio that Ferdinand Marcos had just declared martial law. We were all shocked but not entirely surprised by the news as we had been predicting it for months. We were saddened by the thought that thousands of our compatriots in the Philippines were being arrested, tortured or killed resisting martial law. We imagined the closure of democratic institutions like the courts, the press and the Congress.
When we arrived at the girl scout camp that night, we quietly gathered together at the main cabin and decided to scrap all our painstaking plans for the growth of Kalayaan-International as the events in the Philippines had overtaken us. We would now have to focus on how we were going to respond to the challenge of martial law.
We decided to form a national organization and establish chapters all over the US. We called our group the National Committee for the Restoration of Civil Liberties in the Philippines (NCRCLP). When Sen. Raul Manglapus later formed his own national group in Washington DC in 1973, he had the right idea. Movement for a Free Philippines (MFP), short and sweet.
MAPPING STRATEGIC PLANS
We laid out plans to organize a National Day of Protest on October 6 to show the world that Filipinos in America were opposed to the Marcos dictatorship. We set up pickets in front of the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC and in front of Philippine Consulates throughout the US. In San Francisco, I invited the students in my Philippine History class to join me in the picket line. All but one did.
It was pure coincidence that our conference fell on the weekend martial law was declared as it would have taken us months to plan and organize a national conference to deal with martial law. It was serendipity.
We analyzed that Marcos would not have declared martial law without the consent and approval of the United States so we believed that key to ending martial law was to lobby the US Congress to cut off military and economic aid to the Marcos Dictatorship.That would be our national strategy.
We created an NCRCLP Research Committee which met regularly in the basement of the Berkeley home of Lydia Araneta and Nilo Sarmiento, with Craig Scharlin and Lilia Villanueva, Mike and Elena Swanson, and Lydia’s “kids,” Christine and Anna Tess. We would later establish contact with Dr. Ellen Snow, the foreign policy adviser of California Sen. Alan Cranston, regularly providing her with information about martial law. collage2
SEN. CRANSTON DENOUNCES MARCOS IN THE US SENATE
The information we provided Dr. Snow inspired Sen. Cranston to deliver a speech on the floor of the US Senate on April 12, 1973, which include this gem: “Foreign dictators seem to feel that all they have to do is proclaim their anti-communism and we will rush to their side with dollars and guns. A few of them, such as President Marcos, even pretend that they are strengthening democracy.”
Two young activists who were arrested and imprisoned in the Philippines during martial law were then deported to the US because they were US citizens. When Melinda Paras and Deanie Bocobo arrived in San Francisco, we met with them and arranged for them to go on a national speaking tour.
Another American who was deported from the Philippines was Fr. Bruno Hicks, a Franciscan priest who spent 10 years in Negros Occidental province organizing farmers cooperatives, before he was arrested by Marcos soldiers, imprisoned and deported back to San Francisco. In the speaking tour we arranged for him, Fr. Hicks described “simple and conscientious peasants forming their own political opinions, expressing them, beginning to vote independently of their landlords and their employers. Could this have been the reason martial law was declared because democracy was actually beginning to work, because the grievances of the masses were finally getting organized, getting aired, and bringing pressure to bear on the political institutions?”
The NCRCLP Bay Area Cultural Group was formed where the members sang patriotic Filipino songs like “Ang Bayan Ko” and performed skits depicting the effects of martial law in the Philippines and exposing the US role in the declaration of martial law. We held our public forums and cultural events at the Glide Memorial Methodist Church in downtown San Francisco as the Rev. Cecil Williams was an early suporter.
CONSUL-GENERAL BALIAO DEFECTS
In October of 1972, the Philippine Consul-General in Los Angeles, Ruperto Baliao, privately informed NCRCLP members of his reservations about martial law. He joked that he may even be joining us soon. On May 18, 1973, Consul Baliao held a press conference in L.A. to announce his defection from Marcos whom he called “the new Hitler”. He read his cable to Secretary of Foreign Affairs Carlos P. Romulo, Consul Baliao where he said: “after many sleepless nights of soul-searching, I have finally decided that I cannot in good conscience continue serving your administration which is dedicated to the perpetuation of Pres. Marcos despotic rule and the continued suppression of our people’s civil liberties.”
Consul-General Baliao revealed a telegram dated April 25, 1973 which he received from the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) containing a list of over 100 Filipinos in the United States whose activities were considered “detrimental to the national interest.” He was given instructions not to renew or extend the Philippine passports of those in the “blacklist”.
Consul-General Baliao accepted our offer to go on a nationwide speaking tour to denounce Marcos and martial law. In Washington DC on June 9, 1973, he even led a demonstration in front of the Philippine Embassy where he was joined by Raoul Beloso, the former chairman of the Small Farmers Commission of the Philippines.   
PICKETING MARCOS EVERYWHERE
Wherever Imelda Marcos traveled in the US, she was met with NCRCLP pickets. On one occasion, when we learned that she was passing through San Francisco, we rushed to the San Francisco International Airport to picket her. But when we got there, airport security stopped us from setting up our picket line. So I went to the white courtesy telephone and requested the airport announcer to please page a certain individual. As Imelda Marcos was walking through the lobby of the airport, she could hear this loudspeaker announcement “Calling Miss Ibagsak C. Marcos, Miss Ibagsak C. Marcos, please come to the white courtesy telephone.”
In April of 1973, the Methodist Church offered us free offices at the UNITAS House in Berkeley. Next door to our office was the group fighting the Brazilian Dictatorship. When I asked them how long they had been organizing in the US against the Brazilian generals, a member responded “since 1964”. That was 9 years at the time and I told him that the Marcos Dictatorship would not last that long. “The Filipino people will never accept it. We will topple Marcos very soon and civil liberties will be restored in the Philippines,” I said confidently.
How wrong I was. Martial law in the Philippines would last for nearly 14 years from 1972 through 1986.
But unfortunately, NCRCLP would not last anywhere nearly as long. After we published our 36-page newsmagazine, Silayan, in July of 1973, the NCRCLP, as a national organization, ceased to exist.
CADRE OVER MASS
Melinda Paras, who had gone on a speaking tour all over the US after she was deported from the Philippines, forged a political alliance with Bruce Occena of our Kalayaan Collective and together they initiated intense discussions among our NCRCLP members about the need to create a “cadre” organization to surpass the “mass” organization that was the NCRCLP.
The result of their efforts was the formal organization of the Katipunan ng mga Demokratikong Pilipino (KDP) – which was formed in Berkeley, California in July of 1973. Elected as the national chair was Melinda Paras who insisted, despite my pleas, that NCRCLP must be dissolved in order for the KDP to thrive.     
One by one, the NCRCLP chapters around the US dissolved, all except for the Los Angeles chapter under Esther Soriano, Lilian Tamoria, and Eric Lachica. That last NCRCLP chapter, which would later be led by UCLA Prof. Enrique De La Cruz and Atty. Prosy Abarquez De La Cruz, would resolutely continue the NCRCLP until the end of martial law in February of 1986.
So ended what began with the convoy crossing of the Golden Gate Bridge in September of 1972.
(The author taught Philippine History at San Francisco State University when martial law was declared and would later serve as Secretary-General of the NCRCLP. Send comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mail them to the Law Offices of Rodel Rodis at 2429 Ocean Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94127 or call ).

 
 
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‘The Filipino people can handle the truth’

It is important for the government and for government officials to be honest to the people.  Truth is the best bridge to build trust and confidence between the government and its people.  

My memory always takes me to the 1992 motion picture “A Few Good Men” when the subject of government and public official integrity is brought up.  Remember the movie?  For most who have seen it, the following dialogue and exchanges between actors Tom Cruise (“Lt. Daniel Kaffee”) and Jack Nicholson (“Col. Nathan Jessep”) are unforgettable---

Col. Jessep:  You want answers?
Lt. Kaffee:  I think I'm entitled to them.
Col. Jessep:  You want answers?
Lt. Kaffee:  I want the truth!
Col. Jessep: You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has walls. . .

 

The subject of lying and demanding truth from government officials is again a hot issue in the Philippines after President Rodrigo Duterte admitted in public that he made up the bank account number that he accused Sen Antonio Trillanes IV of having at a Singapore bank.  The president also said that he knew in the first place that the senator had no such account.

What is happening here?  Did the president forget the sacred oath that most Filipino boys of his generation were taught during their years in the Boy Scouts--- 

“On my honor, I will do my best.  To do my duty to God and my Country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, . . .”   

The admission of the president leads many people now to question more strongly his bloody war on drugs and whether the number of drug users and addicts as claimed by him are true.  

According to the official estimates in 2012, there were 1.3 million users, which amount to 1.3% of the country’s population in 2012.  The primary source for this information is the government’s own Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB). 

But during his political campaign for presidency and when he assumed office, President Duterte started feeding the public that there are “3.7 to 4 million addicts or even more.”  

Then this year the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) estimates that there are 4.7 million drug personalities in the country, the highest figure cited by the administration since launching the drug war which now leads the Philippine president to claim that the problem is already a “national security threat.”

Many Filipinos believed the president’s numbers and his pronouncements at first including his promise that he will “solve the drug problem” in the country in three to six months.  More than a year has passed since he took office and it is estimated that more than 10,000 deaths have resulted from his drug war, but recently, he admitted that the problem cannot be solved during his term. 

Then came this recent boast that he “fooled” Sen. Antonio Trillanes about the offshore bank account in Singapore.  But by not being truthful and making admissions about statements said that are not true--- who actually is making a fool of himself?    

The president should never forget that the public and the people listen to him and they remember what he says.  And what he says will affect the people’s trust in him if he is caught lying.

The Filipino people remember that their president told them many times before that he grew-up poor, that he slept under a “mosquito net” just like any ordinary poor person, and that he could relate to those who are disadvantaged in society because his family was also poor.  But now that his net worth and assets are at issue, President Duterte claims that what he has came from assets that he inherited from his family.

The president needs to be told and he needs to know that the Filipino people want the truth and that they deserve to know the truth.  He should also start believing more and trusting the people’s intelligence and that it is not up to him to decide and to make the call whether his people can handle the truth or not--- especially when it comes to matters of public safety, liberty, and government and public official integrity.    

Jojo Liangco is an attorney with the Law Offices of Amancio M. Liangco Jr. in San Francisco, California.  His practice is in the areas of immigration, family law, personal injury, civil litigation, business law, bankruptcy, DUI cases, criminal defense and traffic court cases.  Please send your comments to Jojo Liangco, c/o Law Offices of Amancio "Jojo" Liangco, 605 Market Street, Suite 605, San Francisco, CA 94105 or you can call him (415) 974-5336.  You can also visit Jojo Liangco’s website at www.liangcolaw.com.

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Firearms Prohibition And Right To Hearing For 5150 Individuals

As a result of having been taken into custody, assessed and admitted pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) sections 5150, 5151 and 5152 as a danger to self or others, you are prohibited from owning, possessing, controlling, receiving, or purchasing a firearm for a period of five years from the date of discharge.

A previous client had called me about a friend’s daughter who was 5150 admitted earlier this year and is now in the process of pursuing a job with a law enforcement agency. Due to the firearms prohibition, she was very distraught because besides this one incident, she has a stellar educational background and would be a viable candidate to be a peace officer.

Just this morning, I had an attorney representing an individual who would like to pursue a career that involves possessing firearms. The preparation of the instant motion and the subsequent hearing is complex and in order to insure that the court grant the client’s request, it is critical to hire an effective attorney with experience in this matter.

If you were held involuntarily in the facility for more than three days, then federal law may prohibit you from owning or possessing firearms for a longer period of time. Relinquishment could mean selling or transferring your firearms to a non-prohibited third party using a licensed firearms dealer (Penal Code section 28050) or you may utilize the Power of Attorney for Firearms Relinquishment Sale of Disposal (Penal Code section 29810).

WIC section 8103, subdivisions (f) and (g), allow you to request a hearing by the Superior Court to provide relief from the firearms prohibition. Upon discharge from this facility, you will be provided with a Request for Hearing for Relief from Firearms Prohibition. If you request a hearing at the time of discharge, the completed form will be forwarded by the mental health facility to the Superior Court in your county of residence unless you elect to submit the form yourself.

If you do not request a hearing at the time of discharge from the mental facility, a single request may be made to the Superior Court in your county of residence at any time during the five-year prohibition. The form is a form from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and entitled Bureau of Firearms, Request for Hearing for Relief from Firearms Prohibition.

Upon completion of the form and filing it at the appropriate Superior Court, the court shall set a hearing date within 30 days of receipt of the request. You can either request a confidential private hearing for restoration of your rights to own or possess firearms. You have the right to request this pursuant to WIC section 8103, subdivision (f)(5). If you want a confidential hearing, the hearing is closed to the public unless the court finds that the public interest would be better served by conducting the hearing in public.

The Bureau of Firearms in the DOJ collects the information requested on the form and all the personal information requested in the form must be provided. In order to establish patient request for hearing relief, DOJ may need to share the information with any peace officer or other person designated by the Attorney General upon request.

Firearms prohibition due to 5150 assessment/custody/admission is a period of five years and for many who want their constitutional rights to not be infringed upon, this is a matter of serious gravity. For this client, it means her future career and livelihood so it is critical to file the appropriate forms and be able to present a cohesive and comprehensive presentation as to why the court should grant your request.

I am a firm believer in being prepared and because of this, the more information and documentary evidence you provide to the court and DOJ, the higher your success rate will be.

Any questions, feel free to email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit my website at attycastaneda.com

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The people have not forgotten

There was not much mainstream media coverage and social media postings to commemorate the tragic 9/11 event this year. The obvious focus these last few days is on Hurricane Irma’s disastrous impact and the threat of extreme weather conditions in Florida in other parts of the U.S.
There were no elaborate commemorations for 9/11 in New York either compared to before. But this does not mean that 9/11 has been forgotten. In fact, the memory and the significance of 9/11 will always be a part of us and our history as a nation. Even with no big commemorations attended by politicians and well-known celebrities, including families who were affected and touched by the tragedy, what we now have is a thoughtfully and creatively installed National September 11 Memorial and Museum in the site and location of the former World Trade Center complex.
The memorial at the 180 Greenwich address tells us “not to forget” the September 11, 2001 attacks where 2,977 victims died including the reminder of the earlier 1993 bombing wherein six people were killed. The memorial and museum was designed primarily for the victims of the attacks including those who were involved in the rescue operations.

The preservation of the memory and lessons learned from the tragic 9/11 event is all but guaranteed with the memorial in New York just like how we continue to honor the memory of another historic and tragic day in our nation’s history before World War II when Pearl Harbor was bombed one December day. Then president Franklin D. Roosevelt called the day “a date which will live in infamy.”
For the next generation and for people from all over the world visiting New York, the 9/11 memorial serves as the United States' principal institution and symbol concerned with exploring the implications of the events of 9/11, which includes documenting the impact of the event and exploring 9/11's continuing significance in our lives as Americans and residents of the U.S.
In the Philippines, there was a “different 9/11 commemoration” that took place on September 11, 2017 that was supported and endorsed by President Rodrigo Duterte. I am referring to the 100th birthday commemoration of former Philippine strongman and dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos.
What is the significance to the nation and to the Filipino people of celebrating the 100th birthday of the late dictator? I believe that this question can be answered easily by looking at the nation’s past and recent history. For concerned Filipinos, activists, and human rights advocates who stood against the dictatorship of Marcos, they know who Marcos was and what he stood for, and what he has done to the nation and its people.
But for many who grew up in the internet and social media generation, Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia provides a good introduction and overview as to who Marcos was---

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For a time ‘the world was a-changin’

In the sixties during the rise and height of the youth and student power movement in the United States, the music and poetry of Bob Dylan provided inspiration to the progressive-liberal protest movement. Actually, Bob Dylan was one of the unforgettable inspirations of that generation.
Dylan’s song, “The Times They Are a-Changin” captured the essence and the contradictions of the period. The lyrics are moving (if not powerful)---
“Come mothers and fathers / Throughout the land / And don't criticize / What you can't understand / Your sons and your daughters / Are beyond your command / Your old road is / Rapidly agin'./ Please get out of the new one / If you can't lend your hand / For the times they are a-changin'.”
The progressive protest movement of the sixties in the U.S. also influenced the students in the Philippines a great deal. It was a time when youths started expressing their concerns about what was happening in their country and this concern gave rise to youth activism and movements in the Philippines.
Then in the early seventies, the famous First Quarter Storm took place wherein progressive students and student groups challenged the Marcos-led government and establishment--- including the perceived posturing of President Ferdinand E. Marcos to extend his rule to an unprecedented third term by amending the constitution or by exercising muscle through power grab.
Five decades later, we are again witnessing chaos and unrest.
The rise to power of President Donald Trump in the U.S. and President Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines were beyond people’s wildest expectations at first.
Who could imagine the sudden rapid shift of the political tide in the U.S. from “progressivism,” pro-environment activism, and multiculturalism to “white supremacism,” racism, and narrow-nationalism in America?
In the Philippines, the war on drugs has accounted for more killings in less than two years compared to the twenty-year reign of President Marcos and yet the protest movement has not surged or picked-up steam there.
Lisandro E. Claudio, an associate college professor at De La Salle University in the Philippines opined that “Dutertismo is the new dispensation in Philippine politics” and that Duterte’s critics would continue to scratch their heads about the President’s popularity until they come to terms with one fact: Duterte is popular because he is changing what it means to be a Filipino citizen. That to displace the narrative of Dutertismo, critics need to present a new story, said Prof. Claudio.
A new narrative is definitely needed.
“For the time they are a-changin” may be appropriate in the 60s to challenge the conservatism of the 50s, and the “Tama Na. Sobra Na. Palitan Na” in mid-1980s was enough to inspire the first People Power Revolt in 1986. But it is obvious that the “yellow brand” in politics has somewhat lost glitter these days.
In the hearts and minds of the Filipino people, Duterte’s “Change is coming” has not been supplanted by the “Never Again, Never Forget” call from present day anti-Martial law activists and protesters. History has been “re-told” and many even glorify the Marcos years as the Philippines’ best.
Claudio’s assertion that in order “to supplant Dutertismo there is a need to reject elements of past dispensations” has a point.
Borrowing from Bob Dylan: How many deaths and extra judicial killings (EJKs) before we realize that EJK is not the solution?
Do we risk terrible economic and natural disasters and the collapse of political institutions in the Philippines? Do we risk creating and validating a violent tradition and a culture of impunity in the country that only two years ago was chanting “mercy and compassion” as it welcomed and embraced Pope Francis during his pastoral visit in the Philippines?
Until next week!

Jojo Liangco is an attorney with the Law Offices of Amancio M. Liangco Jr. in San Francisco, California. His practice is in the areas of immigration, family law, personal injury, civil litigation, business law, bankruptcy, DUI cases, criminal defense and traffic court cases. Please send your comments to Jojo Liangco, c/o Law Offices of Amancio "Jojo" Liangco, 605 Market Street, Suite 605, San Francisco, CA 94105. You can also visit Jojo Liangco’s website at www.liangcolaw.com.

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WHY YOU SHOULD BE REPRESENTED BY AN EXPERIENCED IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY

It has been said that immigration laws and regulations are aptly called a labyrinth that only a lawyer could navigate. The courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals have recognized that attorneys are more familiar with the standards and factors an immigration judge examines and can present evidence more effectively. In addition, attorneys have special competence and duties to represent their clients. Attorneys are held to professional standards and obligations. They have a duty to exercise their knowledge and skill in order to present the strongest legally-valid case possible.
Recognizing that aliens have difficulty in presenting their cases forcefully and effectively, the courts have held that aliens have a due process right to competent legal counsel. Competent legal counsel means that aliens have the right to be represented by an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in immigration law because the due process right stems from the attorney’s unique role in removal proceedings and other immigration-related transactions.
When the lawyer fails to render competent assistance and the client is prejudiced (harmed) by that failure, the client can file a motion to reopen to seek a new trial. The request is made upon the assertion that the attorney’s representation was outside of the wide range of professionally-competent assistance and was not the result of reasonable professional judgment. It is called ineffective assistance of counsel.
Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, aliens hire a non-lawyer (sometimes known as a legal consultant, an immigration consultant or a notario) to assist them with their immigration problem. In some cases, they believe they are hiring an attorney. In other situations, they know that the person they have hired is not a lawyer. In other cases, the person they are hiring is an attorney but has very little or no prior experience in immigration law. Relying on these people is dangerous. Consultants and notaries do not undergo necessary legal training and are not permitted to appear in court or at Citizenship and Immigration Services offices. Lawyers with no immigration law experience lack familiarity with the complexities of immigration law or procedure.
Many problems arise when the consultant files an application for an alien. If the alien is statutorily ineligible for the relief, he or she may be issued a Notice to Appear in Immigration Court because the government believes they are removable (deportable) from the U.S. If the alien does not go to his hearing, he is ordered deported in absentia (in his absence). It doesn’t matter that the alien didn’t get a notice of the hearing. As long as the notice was sent to the alien’s representative or to the address given by the alien, the alien is considered to have received notice.

Even if the alien does go to his hearing, consultants are not permitted to represent him in the courtroom. He will be on his own. That is what happened in a 9th Circuit case. Their notario told them that they did not need to call witnesses, provide expert testimony or submit documents in support of their application for relief. Not surprisingly, the immigration judge denied their applications. When they obtained competent counsel and filed a motion to reopen based on ineffective assistance of counsel, the motion was denied. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit said that non-attorney immigration consultants simply lack the expertise and legal and professional duties to their clients that are necessary preconditions for ineffective assistance of counsel claims. The court went on to say that if an alien chooses not to retain an attorney and knowingly relies on assistance from individuals not authorized to practice law, such a voluntary choice will not support a due process claim of ineffective assistance of counsel.
The result of that decision is that, if an alien knows the person he is hiring is not a lawyer and relies on that person anyway, no matter how bad the representation is, the alien will not be able to claim ineffective assistance of counsel. (That is also true if the alien decides to represent himself. He cannot do so and then claim that his representation is inadequate because he did not know what he was doing). If the consultant pretended to be an attorney, ineffective assistance may still be an option. Even if the alien was aware that the representative was not a lawyer, the alien may be able to raise other due process claims. Those assessments must be made by a competent attorney. If you have an immigration problem, make sure that you place your life into the hands of someone competent. Seek the assistance of a skilled, experienced immigration lawyer.

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What are My Fiduciary Duties if I Am Involved Romantically with Someone?

It is important to understand that when people live together, whether or not they are married, a ìconfidential relationshipî arises between them. For married persons this relationship arises from a legally recognized nature of matrimony. For unmarried persons, certain important legal obligations are present but may be of lesser value. Nonetheless, due to the trust and confidential nature of the relationship, duty of loyalty, care and disclosure in transactions will be imposed.

Spousal duties have evolved over the years but management and control of assets and disclosure of such assets are well established. Family Code 721 is the starting point. Subsection (b) states, ìThis confidential relationship is a fiduciary relationship subject to the same rights and duties as non-marital business partnersÖî as set forth in the Corporations Code. It imposes a duty of the highest good faith and fair dealing on each spouse, and neither shall take any unfair advantage of the other.î

Section 721 (b)(1) further entitles each spouse access to information about all things affecting any transaction which concerns the community property estate.î This duty arises by operation of law and no requests needs to be made of that status of property or assets. FC 2100 (c) makes this obligation clear that ìeach party has a continuing duty to immediately, fully, and accurately update and augment that disclosure to the extent there have been any material changes so that at the time the parties enter into an agreement for the resolution of any of these issues, or at the time of trial on these issues, each party will have a full and complete knowledge of the relevant underlying facts.î

An interesting and on point case is Marriage of Rossi. Ms. Rossi won $1,336,000 in a lottery pool and shortly thereafter filed for divorce. She never told her husband about her lottery winnings and failed to disclose the funds in any of her required disclosures. She even consulted with lottery officials how to conceal her winnings from her husband learning about the price. A judgment was entered in the divorce case without Mr. Rossi knowing about the winnings. Two years later, he inadvertently received a letter regarding the winnings. He filed a motion to set aside the divorce judgment and the court held that Ms. Rossiís failure to disclose constituted fraud, oppression and malice and award him 100% of the winnings.

Another seminal case is Marriage of Feldman. This case focuses on the duty of disclosure during dissolution proceedings and confirms the consequences of breaching those duties. The trial court found that the husband established a ìpatternî of financial non-disclosures and issued sanctions against him. The sanctions were set in an amount the court deemed sufficient to deter future noncompliance with the disclosure requirements.

Notably, unlike FC 271 which requires the court to consider the partiesí incomes, assets, and liabilities. FC 2107 addresses sanctions and attorney fees for violations for nondisclosure only require sanctions in an amount sufficient to deter bad behavior.

Transparency and honesty is required in divorce proceedings as to asset disclosures, ìhiding the ball,î means severe penalties as these two seminal cases exemplify. Preliminary and final declaration of disclosures are exchanged prior to judgment and for some cases, discovery work will be required to get all critical information about the assets obtained during marriage and their valuation thereof.
A qualified and experienced family attorney will be needed to navigate the complexities of these issues.

Any questions, call my office at 310-601-7144 or email me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and always visit my website for more articles, attycastaneda.com.

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What are My Fiduciary Duties if I Am Involved Romantically with Someone?

It is important to understand that when people live together, whether or not they are married, a “confidential relationship” arises between them. For married persons this relationship arises from a legally recognized nature of matrimony. For unmarried persons, certain important legal obligations are present but may be of lesser value. Nonetheless, due to the trust and confidential nature of the relationship, duty of loyalty, care and disclosure in transactions will be imposed.

Spousal duties have evolved over the years but management and control of assets and disclosure of such assets are well established. Family Code 721 is the starting point. Subsection (b) states, “This confidential relationship is a fiduciary relationship subject to the same rights and duties as non-marital business partners…” as set forth in the Corporations Code. It imposes a duty of the highest good faith and fair dealing on each spouse, and neither shall take any unfair advantage of the other.”

Section 721 (b)(1) further entitles each spouse access to information about all things affecting any transaction which concerns the community property estate.” This duty arises by operation of law and no requests needs to be made of that status of property or assets. FC 2100 (c) makes this obligation clear that “each party has a continuing duty to immediately, fully, and accurately update and augment that disclosure to the extent there have been any material changes so that at the time the parties enter into an agreement for the resolution of any of these issues, or at the time of trial on these issues, each party will have a full and complete knowledge of the relevant underlying facts.”

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The need to refocus the Filipino ‘national agenda’

Filipino students learn early on in their history and social studies classes about the people, the significant dates and places, and the events that helped shape the Philippines as a nation.
During the month of August for example, we remember the “Cry of Pugad Lawin” in 1896 that was led by Andres Bonifacio of the revolutionary Katastaasang Kagalanggalangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (“Katipunan”). Before the Katipunan uprising, Bonifacio wrote a poem with the title “Katapusang Hibik ng Sangkatagalugan” (The last appeal of the Philippines)---
“Mother, in the east is now risen, the sun of the Filipinos’ anger, that for three hundred centuries we suppressed, in the sea of suffering and poverty.”

Then on August 13, 1898, poet Amado Hernandez wrote--- “Ganito ring araw nang agawan ka ng laya, Labintatlo ng Agosto nang saklutin ang Maynila,” in his work “Kung tuyo na ang luha mo, aking bayan,” as he expressed his thoughts, feelings and opposition to American colonialism and imperialism.
Fast forward to August 2017 and we are witnesses to the rare occurrence of a solar eclipse as the moon passes between the sun and the earth. For a moment, the bright sky darkens and where the sun should be, we see a black circle ringed by a halo of light instead.
In the Philippines the “dark skies” these days that people see and witness is not a natural phenomenon. I refer to the “obsession of killing people” in the name of the war on drugs perpetrated by unknown motorcycle-riding vigilantes and allegedly by some members of the Philippine National Police who have made numerous claims that the victims “resisted” and that they were left with no choice but to shoot and kill.
The family of the late Sen. Jose W. Diokno, a human rights and democracy icon and a fellow detainee of Sen. Ninoy Aquino who was fatally shot at the airport tarmac on August 23, 1983, released a statement recently about the gross human and civil rights violations that are taking place in the Philippines in the name of the government’s war on drugs. The Diokno family stated---
"ENOUGH of the slaughter of mostly poor Filipinos. Enough of the perversions of law in the name of the war on drugs. Killings, rather than the arrests and prosecutions mandated in our laws, have become the standard operating procedure of law enforcement. The murder of Kian de los Santos, and the deaths of thousands before him, show how little the government values the lives of Filipinos, and how much contempt it has for the law.

It is time to speak out against the killings. Silence abets murder, and we will have none of both. The Diokno family, guided by the principles of our parents, pledges to stand for justice and human rights. We lend our voices to the raging cries of the thousands killed and call on the government to comply with the Constitution and laws of our country, and stop the bloody war on drugs, which has only resulted in death, and has not reduced the influx of drugs into the country. We invite all Filipinos to stand with us, for love of country, justice and human rights."

The archbishop of Manila, His Eminence Luis Antonio G. Cardinal Tagle, also asked the Filipino people to reflect, to pray, and to act in response to the increase in the number of people who have been killed as a result of the “intensified war on drugs” in the Philippines.
It appears that the only strategy of the government is to “conduct police raids” in poor residential areas while it continues to ignore the need to seek a joint solution with the country that is said to be the primary source of illegal drugs in the Philippines. What about closing the access of big-time drug lords to the country’s piers and ports?
While illegal drugs remain a problem, the nation has lost its national focus on the more telling and important problems that it must face and tackle--- poverty, lack of education, territorial dispute with China, access to affordable health care, high-level corruption of government officials, Manila traffic, and unemployment--- problems that have made drugs attractive to some people because they feel hopeless.
The “crimes of the poor” became the national focus and agenda while problems that have caused more damage to the nation, to the people, and to the national psyche and soul of the Filipino people have been ignored and not dealt with.
Until next week!

Jojo Liangco is an attorney with the Law Offices of Amancio M. Liangco Jr. in San Francisco, California. His practice is in the areas of immigration, family law, personal injury, civil litigation, business law, bankruptcy, DUI cases, criminal defense and traffic court cases. Please send your comments to Jojo Liangco, c/o Law Offices of Amancio "Jojo" Liangco, 605 Market Street, Suite 605, San Francisco, CA 94105.

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NAVIGATING THE MINEFIELD OF CRIMMIGRATION LAW

Immigrating to the United States is difficult under the best of circumstances. American immigration laws are notoriously thorny and byzantine; many judges have said that only the Internal Revenue Code rivals the Immigration and Nationality Act in complexity.
These complications are magnified when an immigrant has a criminal record. Crimes can trigger severe immigration consequences, including removal (deportation) from the U.S. or bars to admission or relief. Pleading guilty and accepting what appears to be a lenient sentence like probation without jail time can have dire consequences for a noncitizen.
Of course, not every criminal conviction is so calamitous. Practitioners call the interplay of immigration and criminal law by its own name, “crimmigration,” and the practice of crimmigration law requires an exhaustive knowledge of criminal and immigration statutes, and a familiarity with a constantly changing body of case law that continues to add nuance and wrinkles to the rules.
Immigration laws set forth specific offenses that trigger immigration consequences. When a person is convicted of a crime in state court, practitioners and judges must make an exhaustive analysis to determine whether that state crime fits within the “generic” federal definition of a crime with immigration consequences. The courts use terms like “categorical approach” and “modified categorical approach” to determine whether there are alternative means or alternative elements such that a person convicted of a state crime that sounds like a deportable offense is actually not deportable.
If your head is spinning at this point, don’t worry: you’re in good company! The rules for determining when a crime has immigration consequences are continuously evolving and morphing through decisions issued from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Courts of Appeals, the immigration courts, and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). To be polite, crimmigration has a tendency to frustrate and confuse. But, with the right counsel and zealous advocacy, there may be hope, even for difficult cases involving serious criminal records.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit published two decisions last week that prove this point. In Sandoval v. Sessions, the court found that the Immigration Judge (IJ) and the BIA had both erred when they denied relief to a permanent resident who was ordered deported because of his conviction for “delivery of a controlled substance.” The IJ and the BIA refused to allow Mr. Sandoval to apply for relief, despite the facts that he had a green card, had lived in the U.S. for more than 30 years and had not been arrested since his conviction in 1998, and his two children and his wife of 26 years were all U.S. citizens. Mr. Sandoval’s lawyer argued that the statute of conviction was overbroad, and did not match the generic federal offense of “drug trafficking.” The IJ and the BIA rejected that argument, but the Ninth Circuit agreed with Mr. Sandoval’s attorney. After a detailed analysis of the complicated interplay between the criminal statutes and the immigration laws, the Ninth Circuit found that Mr. Sandoval was eligible for relief, reversed the order of removal, and sent the case back to the Immigration Court.
The second case, Lozano-Arredondo v. Sessions, also illustrates the value of zealous advocacy. Like Mr. Sandoval, the immigrant in Lozano-Arredondo was found ineligible for relief and ordered removed by an IJ because of a criminal conviction. Mr. Lozano-Arredondo’s attorneys appealed that decision, first to the BIA and then to the Ninth Circuit, arguing that the IJ and the BIA had misapplied the rules for criminal bars to relief. The court analyzed the criminal code and the immigration laws, comparing the statute of conviction to the generic federal definition of a “crime involving moral turpitude.” The court addressed when it is appropriate or not appropriate to look beyond the statute to decide if a person is barred from relief. As in Sandoval, the court concluded that the IJ and the BIA had wrongly ordered removal, and sent the case back to consider Mr. Lozano-Arredondo’s eligibility for relief.
These two cases demonstrate the value of a good crimmigration lawyer. Mr. Sandoval and Mr. Lozano-Arredondo were both ordered removed because of criminal convictions, but their lawyers appealed those removal orders up to the Circuit Court and won. Now, they both have the chance for relief so that they can stay with their families in the United States as permanent residents.
A noncitizen with a criminal record is not without hope but the battle for immigration relief may not be easy. The interplay of criminal and immigration laws is a minefield of statutory interpretation that requires careful navigation. Any person facing such difficulties should have a knowledgeable lawyer willing to fight for them and make the hard arguments to let them stay in the U.S.

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