Extradition charges against Grande dropped

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LOS ANGELES – Grace Grande, a former mistress of a Philippine party-list representative, now has a reason to celebrate Thanksgiving.

According to initial statements by community groups, the Philippine government has officially rescinded its request for the extradition of Grande. The case sought to bring Grande back to Manila to face extortion charges filed by her former partner and current Agbiag Party-List Representative Patricio Antonio.

Before she fled to the United States in 2007, Grande was accused of stealing nearly P1.8 million (about $43,000) worth of jewelry in the Philippines. She flew to the US with her two sons with Antonio.

Grande said that the theft charges and the extradition case were all part of Antonio’s political maneuvers to try and bring Grande and their sons back to the Philippines.

She has since sought for asylum to remain here in the US. With the extradition request now having been dropped by the Philippine government, Grande’s asylum petition can now be heard by the US courts.

The Association of Filipinas, Feminists Fighting Imperialism, Refeudalization and Marginalization (AF3IRM) was one of the key groups that supported Grande throughout her seven-year ordeal.

AF3IRM National Chair Jollene Levid praised Grande and her two sons for having “unwavering fortitude in the face of seven years of lies, harassment, threats, imprisonment, and all the garbage misogynists are capable of.”

“We salute you!, ” Levid said in a statement.

Levid also expressed gratitude to AF3IRM’s allies who provided them with political, psychological, and material support in their “Stand With Grace” campaign.

Levid revealed that some of Grande’s enemies tried to intimidate their group through vandalism, stalking, and cyber bullying.

“They learned that the AF3IRM sisters do not back down,” Levid said, “And thanks to our allies, the lawyers, and Grace herself – who inspired us with her courage – we won.”

Alliance-Philippines, another community group that extended significant support to Grande and the “Stand With Grace” campaign, was happy over the development.

Alliance coordinator Arturo Garcia said that this is a big victory for feminism and women’s rights.

“For the Alliance, it is a big victory against political dynasties,” Garcia said.

Garcia said that  Grande was a victim of political persecution [from] “one of the [political] dynasties in Cagayan.”

Garcia said that the Alliance wishes Grande and her children well, and expressed their gratitude for the allies who stood up with Grace and supported her in her time of need. 

(LA Midweek November 27-29, 2013 Sec A pg.1)

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