"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker


SENTOSA IS LYING! AVALON NURSES DID NOT WALK OUT ON THE JOB! Sour Grapes Plague Sentosa Camp as Criminal Case Moves to Higher Court

NEW YORK-As oral arguments continue this month with the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court, the healthcare management company known as SentosaCare LLC is launching a desperate media offensive against the 10 Filipino nurses that lawfully resigned from the Sentosa-owned Avalon Gardens Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Suffolk County, Long Island.

Pushing the same line that the nurses "walked out on" and "endangered" their patients, SentosaCare LLC filed criminal cases against the 10 nurses who were recruited from the Sentosa Recruitment Agency (SRA) in Manila back in 2006. The nurses maintain they adhered to standard labor regulations on each of their resignations.

"None of us, except for one, were on duty when we submitted our papers to resign, and that one on-duty nurse waited till she was done with her shift and that the next attending nurse was in," states one of the nurses now known as the Avalon 10. "Absolutely no patients were abandoned or endangered."

So why is the Sentosa camp claiming otherwise to the media in a current frenzy?

"Desperation," states Rico Foz, Executive Vice-President of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns or NAFCON, which has been heading the international campaign seeking justice for the nurses. "SentosaCare LLC is in the lucrative business of human trafficking and illegal recruitment. These nurses have been victimized and are now fighting back, and the right people are listening. Now Sentosa is desperate to ruin their reputation as nurses and professionals."

So much support has poured to the nurses now known as the Sentosa 27++. A minimum of 27 nurses from the Philippines, including the 10 from Avalon Gardens, signed up to work for SentosaCare's facilities in New York through the SRA in Manila. Upon arrival in the United States, SentosaCare LLC not only failed honor the tenets of the nurses' contracts, but subjected them to a steep 60:1 patient-to-nurse ratio and withheld their wages.

"Our case has always been about the advocating for the very best care possible for our patients and that is not going to stop," stated SentosaCare LLC owner and CEO Ben Philipson. "If that means pursuing justice on both sides of the Pacific. If it means prosecuting to the fullest extent of the law those caregivers and others who would do our patients harm intentionally or through negligence, then we will do just that."

"The bottom line is there is no such thing as quality patient care if the healthcare management company itself is subjecting its healthcare workers to indentured servitude, and inhumane working conditions, not to mention breaching labor contracts," Foz added. "It was for these strong and legitimate reasons that the nurses chose to resign, not walk-out. The nurses are not guilty of negligence, SentosaCare LLC is."

The recent decision to transfer jurisdiction of the criminal case from Suffolk County to the New York Supreme Court may also be a factor in SentosaCare's media offensives against the nurses.

"Perhaps Mr. Philipson is sweating bullets because all his millions can't buy the favoritism of the New York Supreme Court, unlike all the money he invested to buy-off the Suffolk County Court System, after holding a series of closed-door meetings with Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota," Foz continued.

With the support of the immigrant community and major labor allies such as the American Nurses Association, New York State Nurses Association, and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1199, the nurses remain strong and confident that the truth will set them free.

"Sentosa may have a million-dollar press machinery, but the nurses have the truth, and no amount of money can bend the truth," Foz ended.

Fr. Ben Alforque
National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON)

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