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NAFCON Claims Victory for the Avalon 11

Appellate Division Should Dismiss Criminal Case, Fil-Ams Demand

The recent ruling of the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court issuing an order staying the Criminal Prosecution of the Avalon 11 (10 former Sentosa nurses and their lawyer) marks a victory for the Filipino community-based campaign for justice for the former Sentosa 27++ nurses. The community campaign was spearheaded and led throughout by the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, or NAFCON, a national alliance of Filipino organizations in over 23 cities in the United States.

From the beginning, despite doubts flung from all sides, NAFCON stood firm in its belief that the Sentosa 27 nurses, and those 11 criminally-indicted by Sentosa's legal team, had the truth on their side. This truth, the moral bankruptcy of the illegal recruitment scheme of SentosaCare LLC and its owner, Bent Philipson, has been the iron shield for all the Sentosa 27 nurses.

The Avalon 11 embody the courage of all the world's Davids that can beat the world's Goliaths if they believe in themselves and are organized. They faced criminal charges of patient endangerment after resigning from the Sentosa-owned Avalon Gardens in Long Island. Although the right to resignation is a basic worker's right protected by the United States Constitution, the unscrupulous Sentosa camp sought revenge to cover up its criminal human trafficking activities and build public opinion against the victimized nurses. They even attempted to buy-off the Suffolk County Court System by having closed-door meetings with Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota.

After much community pressure led by the Avalon 11 and NAFCON to dismiss the charges as invalid, since no Avalon patient was put in danger, legal advocates for the Avalon 11 filed a writ of prohibition with the Appellate Division, on the basis that the Suffolk County Court System does not have legal jurisdiction over the case. Since the case is a basic labor dispute, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has exclusive jurisdiction over it. State criminal action is preempted by federal law.

Amicus briefs submitted by SEIU Local 1199 and two bar association firmly supported the prohibition petition.

The Appellate Division's stay on the criminal prosecution case will mean the scheduled April 28th trial in Suffolk County will not push through. Oral arguments on the criminal petition will begin in May, and there is much demand that the Appellate Division dismiss the case all together by granting the writ of prohibition.

NAFCON views the seizing of jurisdiction of the criminal case from the Suffolk County Court System's hand as a major step towards victory for the Avalon 11 nurses. It is no secret that the Suffolk County Court System has been corrupted by the Sentosa camp and is ridden with anti-immigrant sentiment. It joins the broader public in demanding that the Appellate Division dismiss that case all together.

Fr. Ben Alforque, President,
National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON)
email: nafconusa@yahoo.com

Note: The decision can be accessed here courtesy of
Atty. Tim Calumpong.

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