Saturday, January 14, 2012

Update on the 3 pinoys that were arrested by the FBI's


Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
January 12, 2012
LOS ANGELES–Since agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested Filipino nationals Sergio Santiago de Leon Skyjack, Cesar Paolo Inciong Ubaldo and Arjyl Revereza on charges of weapons smuggling, the Philippine consulate in Los Angeles has been watching the case.
Consular officials will be at the suspects’ next court appearance on February 6th, when they will be indicted.
“I will be monitoring that closely I will be attending that hearing also. There will be a grand jury at that session,” said Deputy Consul General Dan Espiritu.
Investigators claim that in 2010, FBI agents posed as members of a Mexican drug cartel and met with the group in the Philippines to buy about $50,000 worth of automatic assault rifles, grenade launchers, armor, and other military grade accessories.
The affidavit said Syjuco and Ubaldo were selling the weapons while Revereza was “a corrupt customs official that could deliver the weapons.”
The three Filipinos are charged with importing weapons without a license and face 20 years in prison if convicted.
The consulate has been in contact with the U.S. attorneys of the accused smugglers as well as their families in the Philippines.
Espiritu said, “Of course they’re very much concerned. They’re trying to see the blow-by-blow proceedings of the preparations that are going on but of course I could not discus this more extensively.”
The consulate met the accused on Tuesday at the Metropolitan Detention Center to check on their welfare while in prison.
“They’re doing well inside and secondly the other objective of the visit was to see if their rights as accused are protected and safeguarded. They’re now properly represented by their respective legal councils,” explained Espiritu.
The three men were arrested Thursday when they arrived in Los Angeles expecting to meet an undercover agent posing as a buyer from the Mexican drug cartel.
The American-made weapons have been seized by U.S. authorities since the shipment arrived in Long Beach last June.

Again, people, please refrain from cursing your own kababayan. Yes, they chose the wrong thing, they were blinded by money (but you have to admit that we all dream to have an easy life, free of worries, but we chose the hard way and long way and the honest way. These three Pinoy's chose the short way. It's a bad choice. But it's their choice, not ours.) 
I really find it in a bad taste that instead of being more compassionate to our fellow citizen some would hurl bad words, swear at them and laugh and say, "that's what you get for being a crook! Good luck on your jail life!"
I am not saying these just because I know one of them so, I feel sympathy for them. It's not that. I always feel these way when a fellow Filipino would be sentenced to jail or death in other country because they made the wrong choice, done illegal thing or broke the law in a foreign country. I always empathized with our OFW's. I simply look up to them. Life outside of our country is not a picnic in the park. Yes, they earn more than what we can earn in our country but they did it and work outside so that they can provide for their family.
These people may have done the wrong thing but they did it for their family. You have your own family, right? You would protect, love and care for them and do anything for them. These men are not that different from us. So, stop throwing stones at them. Let's just pray for them.

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