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Another violation of human rights in our backyard . . .

On February 5th, 2007, Marlo Custodio, his brother, Romel Custodio,
and his mother, Marilou Custodio, became victims of police brutality
and racial profiling. More than two years later, the violence
continues as their case has been drawn out and delayed through the
courts’ system in order to discourage the family’s quest for
JUSTICE!!!

In the Spring of 2008, the Custodio family was told by their judge
that their trial would begin in the summer. Accordingly, they were
advised to hold off on any family vacation plans and make special
arrangements with their employment, and they did. When summer arrived
however, the eight police officers expected to be at court failed to
appear—prolonging the case further than necessary. On February 20th,
2009, friends, family, and members of the San Jose and larger San
Francisco Bay area community came out in support of the Custodio
family: THE COMMUNITY WAS PRESENT in Department 52’s courtroom,
filling it to capacity. No more than 20 minutes after being seated
however, the Custodio family found themselves leaving the court room
to meet their supporters outside. Apparently, one of the main
arresting officers was on a pre-paid vacation!!! Despite advance
notice of the trial, despite the Custodios having to appear time after
time at the court, there was nothing that the judge could do or was
willing to do to hold the DA accountable for this travesty of Justice.

After having their trial pushed back yet again (more than 30 total
consecutive times!) the Custodio family now awaits a new judge. The
Custodio family has been placed back onto the master calendar of the
courts (since one of the officers failed to show for an important
motion) and on June 6th, 2009, will find out who their new judge is.
The COMMUNITY HOPES that the family will be able to proceed with their
motion to dismiss, and finally have the bogus charges filed against
them by the SJPD dropped.

The COMMUNITY’s support of the Custodios is Strong. Recently, FOCUS
– SV in collaboration with Silicon Valley Debug and many other
organizations raised approximately $1000 for the legal fees of Marilou
Custodio. On March 6th, 2009, in celebration of International Women’s
Day, entitled, “Two Year Wait – A Woman’s Pursuit of Justice,” spoken
word artists, DJ’s, cultural performers, friends, family and community
members joined the Custodio family as they shared heartfelt words
about their mother’s strength and courage, not only throughout this
trial, but throughout their lives. Words were also spoken that linked
Marilou’s struggle with the larger struggle of Filipinas in the U.S.
and Globally. The brutality imposed on Marilou Custodio reminds us of
the brutality imposed on Filipina migrant workers in the Middle East
by their employers. Marilou’s story reminds us of the brutality
imposed on Filipinas by the U.S. military as in the case of Nicole.
Marilou’s story reminds us of the brutality against Filipinas imposed
by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Regime in the Philippines as in the
recent abduction of Melissa Roxas, a U.S. Citizen doing Human Rights
work in the Philippines .

The struggle for justice within the court system continues and the
morale and determination of the Custodio family remains strong.

Justice for the Custodio family!

Drop the charges against the family now!

Prosecute the offending officers!

Demand SJPD accountability and ban tasers!

Justice for all victims and families affected by police brutality!

FOCUS MISSION

As a broad grassroots community organization, Filipino Community
Support of Silicon Valley (FOCUS-SV) defends the rights and interests
of Filipinos in Santa Clara County against social and economic
injustices.

FOCUS VISION

We, the concerned Filipinos residing and working in Silicon Valley
with our families and friends, realize the need to protect, assist,
and advocate for our mutual and collective interest against
exploitation, oppression, violence, and injustice. We come together to
build a broad comprehensive grassroots organization that defends the
rights gained by previous struggles and upholds the welfare of
Filipinos. With nationalist and democratic values, we envision greater
social, cultural, and political resources for the Filipino community
in Santa Clara County that would benefit everyone and promote greater
equity and justice.

For more info contact: email focus.balita@gmail.com

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