Newspaper publisher responds to trafficking charges

The author: 'Trust in the U.S. justice system'

The author: ‘Trust in the U.S. justice system’

By Bert Pelayo

You may have heard about a civil action filed against my daughter for alleged unpaid wages and false imprisonment. In a puzzling twist, Linda and I were also named defendants.

Even more puzzling is the fact that the Philippine Consulate employee who brought her here legally as a domestic worker was not included in the complaint.

There is an employment contract between Emma Ruth Yulo and Rosenda Gonzaga. In turn, Ms. Yulo loaned her maid out whenever she was out of town.

There’s no contract between Joy and the maid, nor with the Pelayos. If the maid was also working for other families, why were they not included, and instead the Pelayos were singled out. This issue was pointed out by a FilAm reporter in an Internet article.

She also asked the maid’s lawyer why Ms. Yulo was not a defendant and received no reply.

Ms. Yulo says she was the one paying the maid, “not the McCarthys.”

In an interview with The FilAm, our lawyer, Salvador Tuy, said, “We deny everything. The defendants are all good people and they have many friends in the community.”

Atty. Tuy emphasized that “some people resort to human trafficking charges as a way to apply for a T visa that would allow them to stay in the country legally.”

The Philippine Consulate issued an official statement to The FilAm:

“Based on the Philippine Consulate records, Ms. Gonzaga was the private staff of Ms. Emma Ruth Yulo-Kitiyakara, former Philippine Tourism Representative in New York. That the Tourism Office reported that Ms. Gonzaga left her employer, Ms. Yulo-Kitiyakara, in March 2011. This matter was reported to the relevant authorities as per standard operating procedure. The Consulate General has no knowledge of the matters alleged in the complaint of Ms. Gonzaga. Ms. Yulo-Kitiyakara retired from the Department of Tourism in November 2011.

“The Consulate General will respond appropriately to any request for assistance from any Filipino national who is a party to the case/complaint.

“The Consulate General reiterates that it continues to actively engage different concerned groups and individuals in raising awareness of labor-related issues.”

Ms. Gonzaga sneaked away — not “escaped” — on March 1, 2011, her birthday. That day, Joy wrote her a card and (sent her) a $100 cash gift.

In a pang of conscience, she left a handwritten note in Tagalog, saying, “I am sorry I have to do this because I have so many problems. I cannot wait for you to come home to celebrate my birthday at a restaurant. My conscience will bother me more. I hope to return to you someday. I love you both very much (Joy and Chris).”

This is hardly the sentiment of an “aggrieved, oppressed and imprisoned” woman.

We trust implicitly in the efficacy of the U.S. justice system.

Bert Pelayo is the publisher of The Filipino Reporter, a newspaper that has served the FilAm community for more than 40 years.


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  1. Name * wrote:

    Gonzaga is a big liar. I know these family, they are nice people inside and out, well respected and generous. This crazy woman is sick in the head. She left a letter saying…that she have to do it, ’cause she
    got a lot of problems and her conscience is bothering her…so why accused these family of lies?
    Is somebody paying her to lie? Or maybe, somebody promised her something that she can’t
    resist? I hope your conscience will hunt you forever. I hate this kind of people.

  2. Mary wrote:

    I have extenstive experience with A3 visas whilst dealing with A3 employees in my role as a Legal Administrator for an International Law Firm.

    I have seen this again & again:

    ” Atty. Tuy emphasized that “some people resort to human trafficking charges as a way to apply for a T visa that would allow them to stay in the country legally.” ”

    Atty. Tuy is absolutely 100% correct in this instance. Rosenda Gonzaga has been promised citizenship in the US by her legal counsel and her legal counsel hope to pocket 30% of whatever settlement they believe Ms. Gonzaga is entitled to. It’s extortion. Rosenda Gonzaga is preying upon innocent “every-day people” (read this to mean all US citizens). Since the incident off the shores of Rockaway Beach, New York where hundreds of stow-aways were trapped from China, the US implemented this Human Trafficing law. Until this suit is settled, the petitioner can legally work in the United States and has most likely been granted temporary citizenship. Hey, she is probably even collecting benefits meant for “legal US Citizens”! As my Dad always said “the truth will come out in the end” and in this matter, I am 100% sure of this.

    Welcome to the New United States of America. Please don’t get me wrong, there are surely cases of human trafficing out there, but THIS ONE is NOT ONE OF THEM. This is an attempt to get money from innocent people BUT for all American’s, it is a false attempt to obtain citizenship (and probably welfare benefits) in our Country. She is therefore taking away from those who really need the help (unable to make a mortgage payment this month? How about groceries?). In the meantime, we are paying to house Ms. Rosenda Gonzaga.

    Very sad state of affairs indeed! Your family is in my prayers. Such upstanding citizens – lives potentially ruined because 1 woman decided to take this course of action instead of returning to her homeland. Ship her home when it’s all over with – I;ll be at the dock/airport waving her goodbye.

  3. Name * wrote:

    Ms. Mary,

    You are entitled to your own opinion regarding these allegations.
    I would like to say something about the Pelayo’s family.
    They are well known and respected in the Fill-Am community in the New York metro area.
    Please let the legal system take it course according to the Laws of the Land!

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