PH congressman's ex-mistress asks DOJ chief for help
MANILA, Philippines - In the past year, Grace Grande has been detained by immigration officers for lacking legal status and had spent another day in prison fighting an extradition and has appeared in federal court a handful of times.
However, Grande, the former mistress of a Philippine congressman, is in high spirits as she continues her fight for freedom.
"I think it's my faith in God that's keeping me going and making me strong and I have faith that I am one step closer to victory," Grande said.
Last year, her bid for political asylum was blocked by theft charges that were filed against her by Agbiag party list Rep. Patricio Antonio, who is the father of her two children.
With her asylum case postponed as laws require her to address the theft charges which carry extradition orders,
Grande was suppose to appear in court for an evidence hearing this week.
However the appearance was postponed to October as her legal team has reached out to Justice Secretary Leila De Lima.
"The government agreed to provide a draft of our opposition to the Philippine Secretary of Justice Miss Leila de Lima so the Philippine authorities can review and investigate the matters that we have presented. Just a few days ago the government informed us and the court that it had provided a draft opposition to Philippine authorities. We are hopeful we will be able to reach an alternative resolution on this matter," Alyssa Bell, Deputy Federal Public Defender, said.
Grande fled to the US about 6 years ago with her two teenage sons, saying she was escaping the emotionally abusive relationship with the congressman.
She had no legal status and was eventually detained by immigration authorities. She has since filed for political asylum and is currently free on bail.
Filipino American women's rights activists have since been helping her seek refuge and are continuing to gather petitions for the Philippine government to drop what they're calling bogus theft charges so that the US government can continue hearing Grande's asylum plea.
"While the hearing was pushed back to October we recognize this is another delay tactic. What they don't know this just fuels our fervor and gives us more time to continue to organize," Ivy Quiocho of Af3irm said.
Grande's next appearance will be on October 22 where the Filipino community vows to stand strong by her side as she appears in court.