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Dr. Chua will soon have his day in court

Guest Editoial
By: Perry Diaz

After lingering in a county jail in Georgia since his arrest in September of last year for murder charges, Dr. Noel Chua -- a Filipino-American internist -- will soon have his day in court. Charged with double murder for the accidental death of a patient, Dr. Chua’s case has become an international cause celebre.

On September 13, 2006, after a lengthy investigation, a Camden County, Georgia grand jury indicted Dr. Chua of two counts of felony murder -- for the same person, James Carter III -- and 17 counts of violation of Georgia’s Controlled Substance Act. Dr. Chua was denied bail and is currently held in the Camden County jail. In addition to these charges, the prosecuting District Attorney, Steven Kelly, also charged Dr. Chua with RICO racketeering.

As a result of the racketeering charge, which according to Dr .Chua had no legal basis, the court ordered his assets frozen and at the same time appointed a Receiver, an act that was never explained. Since Dr. Chua’s assets were frozen, why is there a need for a Receiver? At the time his assets were frozen, Dr .Chua had $120,000 in cash in his bank accounts. When he recently requested a copy of his bank statement, there were only $10,000 left in cash. It was also revealed that the Receiver has billed nearly $100,000 for his work. Doing what?

A few days ago, I received from the Camden County Sheriff’s office a fax copy of a motion filed by Donald F. Samuel, Dr. Chua’s lawyer, to dissolve the RICO receivership and to dismiss the RICO lien notice. One of the bases for the motion was the fact that “there has never been a hearing to support the seizure of Dr. Chua’s assets.” The motion further stated that “the evidence that has developed as a result of the discovery that has been taken demonstrates that Dr. Chua did not commit any crime.” The motion asserted that Dr .Chua did not violate RICO or any other criminal law and that he prescribed medicine to the patient based on a legitimate medical need. The motion further stated:

“The fact that the patient eventually abused the drugs and either intentionally, or unintentionally overdosed is not the basis for a criminal charge against Dr. Chua.”

The motion questioned the need to appoint a Receiver: “Dr. Chua’s defense, including the payment of necessary expert expenses, will take a back seat to the Receiver’s unquenchable thirst for more of the assets.” The motion asked the court to dissolve the RICO lien notice and to dismiss the Receiver.

Adding insult to an injury, the Receiver asked the court for permission to refer “potential improprieties” for further investigation of potential insurance fraud. In a separate court filing, District Attorney Kelley said that Judge Amanda Williams should order the Receiver to report his findings. Meanwhile, insurance investigators are looking into Receiver’s allegations. What is really sad is that the Receiver, who was appointed to take care of Dr. Chua’s estate and business while he is being held in jail without bail, appears to be partial to the prosecution and, in my opinion, may have violated his fiduciary duty to Dr. Chua.

After nine months of delay -- the trial was originally scheduled to start last November 2006 -- Dr. Chua is finally going to have his day in court. Jury selection is going to start on August 20 and the trial on September 10. Recently, the District Attorney filed a motion to transfer Dr. Chua from the Camden County jail to another county jail. Dr. Chua believes that the DA is trying to isolate him from his family and supporters. It is interesting to note that Camden County Sheriff Bill Smith is sympathetic to Dr. Chua. As a matter of fact, he has allowed Dr .Chua to use one of the computers at his office which enabled Dr. Chua to communicate with his family and supporters.

Some of the leaders of Dr. Chua’s supporters in Georgia are Marilyn Doromal, Willy Blanco, Ding and Rosa Tamisin, Jason White, Robert McLaughlin, Toni Daya-Luetger, Dr. Mike Tan, Cris Borja, Dr. Ely Abellera, Scott Alexander, and Pam Peterman. With Dr .Chua’s assets virtually gone, his supporters in Georgia have raised $140,000 and are trying to raise another $25,000. Dr. Ely Abellera of Fairburn, Georgia -- one of the leaders of the Georgia Advocacy for Justice -- sent me a letter, “A TEST OF OUR UNITY -- AN APPEAL,” which I posted in my online newsletter BALITA-USA. Within minutes several people responded. The first to respond was Linda Nietes of Southern California followed by Lydia Soriano of Los Angeles, Manuel Valle of San Jose, Edna Concepcion of San Diego, and Dr. Yoyoy Serina of Southern California. Please send your donations to: Dr. Chua Legal Defense Fund, c/o Pam Peterman, 3619 Homewood Dr., Powder Springs, GA 30127.

A few days ago, I received a notice from Dr .Philip Chua of Indiana that he and Dr. Edmundo Relucio of Illinois have set up a nationwide campaign for justice for Dr. Chua. Send your donation to: Legal Defense Fund for Dr. Noel Chua, Standard Bank, Route 6, Morris, Illinois. To view the Power Point presentation of the Philippine American Center in Georgia movement, and make a donation, you may access this website http://www.feu-alumni.com/, and click on the “Help Fight Injustice” link on the left lower corner of the home page.

I urge our kababayans to help Dr. Chua in his fight for justice. Send you donations to either of the above addresses. No amount is too small or too large. Dr. Chua’s case is very important to Filipino-Americans because, in the final analysis, it is our community that is on trial. Let’s show that we will not let this injustice go unchallenged.

Avie S. Roesch, a Caucasian supporter and former patient of Dr .Chua sent me a letter and said: “All races love Dr .Chua! He is a rare member of the human race, who is just too good for his own good! How many doctors give patients their home phone number, their cell phone number, accept calls gladly in the middle of the night, and call to check on patients at home, plus make home visits when required.”

Dr. Chua wrote me a few days ago and said, “It’s time for the whole truth to come out. It’s been hidden for so long. My friends in Camden are opening their homes for all our out-of-town friends that are coming for the trial.” Rest assured Dr. Chua that we’ll all be there for you -- if not in person, in spirit.

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