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Filipino nurses in NY score ‘early victory’ -- consul

Filipino nurses in NY score ‘early victory’ -- consul

By Veronica Uy
Last updated 05:09pm (Mla time) 09/07/2006

THE Filipino nurses in New York who accused their recruitment agency of breach of contract and unfair labor practice have scored an “early victory” in their case, Philippine consul general to New York Cecilia Rebong said in e-mail exchanges with

“We note that Attorney [Felix] Vinluan and the nurses score(d) an early ‘victory’ in the case when the New York Supreme Court denied the motion of (recruitment agency) Sentosa for the issuance of a preliminary injunction against the former,” she said in answer to questions regarding the case.

Among the 26 nurses is 2004 medical board topnotcher Elmer Jacinto.

At the same time, Rebong confirmed that Vinluan and the nurses face a civil case filed by Sentosa for alleged breach of contract and “tortuous interference of contracts.” The case is still pending in court.

She also confirmed that Presidential Chief of Staff Michael Defensor contacted her but not to intervene on behalf of the recruitment agency but merely to ask about the status of the case filed by the nurses against Sentosa and what her office has done about it.

Rebong said she met with Vinluan and the nurses.

“I also informed the Secretary that after the meeting, the consul general submitted its findings and recommendations to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). One of the recommendations was for the DFA to endorse the matter to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) for further investigation and appropriate action,” she added.

Rebong said she saw nothing wrong with the phone call, describing it as “one of so many calls made by one government official to another in the ordinary course of conducting duties and functions of their office.”

She also said her office has lent and would continue to lend assistance to the nurses and any Filipino groups or individuals seeking its help. “The nurses’ counsel, Attorney Vinluan, and the nurses themselves are aware of the extent to which the consul general has gone to assist them,” she said.

In a related development, the 26 nurses wrote Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and Akbayan party-list Representative Mario Aguja to thank them for “boldly presenting our case to the Congress.”

The nurses, who said they have been without jobs for more than a month, said their case has caused them “sleepless nights and absence of peace of mind.”

“We had hoped, ever since our resignation, that our fellow Filipinos would know our cause; that they would hear and learn from our experience. When we took on this huge step, it was not without careful thought, we were all aware of the possible consequences that comes with it,” they said.

“When we heard the news that you were making a speech about our plight, we were unbelievably overwhelmed. The chance to be finally heard in our own land is like the sun breaking through dark clouds,” they said in a letter, a copy of which was given to

The nurses are: Juliet Anilao, Harriet Avila, Dulce Corazon Bayot, Archiel Buagas, Annabelle Capulong, Maricelle Dealo, Mark Dela Cruz, Maritoni Dela Rosa, Alipio Esguerra Jr., Claudine Gamiao, Carlo Conrad Garcia, Eduardo Ilagan, Elmer Jacinto, Cecille Jayo, Jennifer Lampa, Eileen Magnaye, James Millena, Rizza Maulion, Rhean Kissette Montecillo, Mitzi Ann Ong, Noralyn Ortega, Louella Paglinawan, Dondon Parungao, Ma. Theresa Ramos, Ritchel Salve, and Ranier Sichon.


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