U.S. dismisses case vs Sentosa

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE U.S. Department of Justice dismissed on Aug. 31 the case filed by Atty. Vinluan, lawyer of the so-called “Sentosa 26”, against Sentosa Care LLC of New York and Bent Philipson.

In its decision, the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, found insufficient evidence to believe the injured parties were discriminated.

In sum, no discrimination was committed by Sentosa Care LLC, and the allegations of the “Sentosa 26” are baseless.

Last year, the issue reached political scope when nurses charged that the POEA recalled its initial suspension order against Sentosa at the request of then Presidential Chief of Staff Michael Defensor. Even Sen. Nene Pimentel made a privilege speech on this issue.

POEA lifted the suspension and threw out unverified charges of labor malpractice alleged by the nurses against Sentosa facilities in New York. This dismissal shows that the POEA was indeed correct in lifting the suspension order.

Last June 2006, Sentosa’s chief operating officer in New York Bent Philipson and Francis Luyun, chief executive officer of the recruitment agency, had to appeal to POEA in Manila in order to have their side heard.

After reviewing the case the POEA ruled on June 8, 2006 that “upon evaluation of the pleadings filed by (Sentosa) and their corresponding documents, we find sufficient basis to grant the motion to lift the suspension.

While taking cognizance of the complaints filed by nurses before the Department of Justice and the National Labor Relations Commission, the POEA then observed that “as U.S. immigrant visa holders, their rights are amply protected by the host government from whom immediate redress can be secured.”

It was reported a year ago that the 26 nurses, through their lawyer Atty. Felix Vinluan, filed the instant case before the U.S. DOJ in Washington, DC, when the offices of Sentosa were in New York.