by Heidi M. Pascual
Injustice for Filipino-American Family Killed in Crash Last Year
Recently, the sentence given by the court to the man who killed a Filipino father and his four daughters due to a vehicular accident in Delaware was
one year of probation. Stunned and angry, I didn’t really know what to say the moment I read the news on the matter.

For those who might have forgotten, the Filipino dad was 61-year-old Audie Trinidad of Teaneck, New Jersey, and his four daughters, Kaitlyn, 20;
Danna, 17; and Melissa and Allison, 13-year-old twins. Trinidad was a U.S. Navy veteran who settled with his family in New Jersey. The family,
including Trinidad’s wife, Mary Rose Ballocanag, was returning from a trip to Ocean City, Maryland, when a pickup truck driven by Alvin Hubbard III of
Cambridge, crossed the median and hit the family’s van and another car. Only the wife of Trinidad survived with serious injuries.

Hubbard was initially charged with “five counts of second-degree vehicular homicide, three counts of vehicular assault and other offenses.” It was
reported that Hubbard had a coughing fit that unfortunately caused the accident killing Trinidad and his four daughters. He pleaded guilty to five
misdemeanor counts of operating a motor vehicle causing death and two misdemeanor counts of vehicular assault.

Whatever reason the erring driver gave to prove that it was not his intention to start the accident, five people were left dead, all coming from one
family! The mother who survived probably almost lost her mind the moment she learned what happened to her husband and four daughters. As a
mother, I feel Rose Ballocanag’s pain, and if I were in her shoes, I don’t really know if I still would want to live. Losing her whole family was like
losing her world, her love, her life itself. Filipino mothers – and perhaps most mothers in other cultures – would give their lives to protect their family,
especially their children. This unfortunate and horrible accident left Rose alone and desperate for justice for her family.

The justice Rose sought for more than a year came to naught, adding to her distress and depression. The decision of the court for the perpetrator to
suffer what –one year probation – not only showed how unjust our justice system is toward people of color. If the family killed were Caucasian, I am
pretty sure the driver would get the maximum penalty under the law. I hope our civil rights organizations would act fast to question the slap-on-the-
wrist penalty for killing a family whose future was cut short by a coughing White driver.

News from Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

Tri-Caucus Chairs Denounce DoD for Predominantly Raiding Military Bases in Tri-Caucus Districts for Border Wall
It appears that districts represented by Members of color were targeted by the Administration

WASHINGTON—  On Oct. 10, Chairs of the Congressional Tri-Caucus — which represents over half of the Democratic Caucus and includes the
Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC)
requested  the Department of Defense explain in detail the selection process used for canceling military projects in the amount of $3.6 billion to fund
a border wall.  

Secretary of Defense Esper approved the reprogramming of $1.8 billion from over 30 domestic military projects to help pay for 175 miles of border
wall along the United States-Mexico border.

The letter to the Pentagon was led by Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Congressional Asian Pacific American
Caucus Chair Judy Chu (CA-27), and Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass (CA-37).

“As you may know, these cuts were disproportionately felt on military bases located in CHC, CBC, and CAPAC districts. Approximately half of the
domestic bases affected were in such districts. Further,
the hardest-hit districts by this reallocation are Puerto
Rico and Guam, both minority-majority jurisdictions. Due
in part to these facts, and the concern that Tri-Caucus
Member districts were targeted by the Administration, we
request that the Department of Defense share its
detailed process and methodology surrounding how
affected bases and specific military construction projects
were selected, how unaffected bases and projects were
exempted, and the Department’s justification for the
selection criteria and process used.”