By: Elsie Sy-Niebar


*CHICAGO MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT starts her governance with the Wrong Foot! A war with Ald. Ed Burke. Quo Vadis, Chicago?

*COOK COUNTY Treasurer Maria Pappas, sends PHILIPPINE INDPENDENCE DAY GREETINGS, briefly tracing our historic Independence, holds reception at her office, appoints VERONICA LEIGHTON as her DEPUTY TREASURER

* HAPPY-NINGS, SIGHTS ‘n SOUND of our Philippine Independence Day Celebration in Chicagoland!

One of the Virtues we have as Filipinos and Filipino Americans is our Love for our Nativeland, the Philippines! Pearl of the Orient Seas! And our Love for the annual celebration of our hard-earned freedom from several conquestadores or conquerors — the longest of which was the 350- plus years under Spain which ruled our Islands with Iron Hands and gave our Filipino ancestors a primitive classification as Indios. Thanks to our brave National Heroes like Dr. Jose Rizal, Emilio Aguinaldo, Andres Bonifacio, Apolinario Mabini, a Brave Warrior Woman Tandang Sora and a host of others, we now enjoy our freedom, which ironically, in some instances, is misused and abused by some people in power today. Nonetheless, no matter which parts of the world we are at, distance does not matter. Many of us take the time to even go back home for the celebration to “bond” not only with our families but for the culture we were brought up, and to reminisce our youth in our Lovely Philippine Islands.

So, no wonder, that even non-Filipino politicians like Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas shares our historical celebration reflected in her Message she sent me (below) for publication in Via Times to share with our readers.

“It is an honor to congratulate the Filipino Community for the celebration of the 121st anniversary of the Philippine Declaration of Independence. On this day in 1898, Emilio Aguinaldo wrote a new page in history when he issued a Declaration of Independence for the Philippines from Spain. It is a tragedy that Spain had ceded the Philippines to the United States after the Spanish-American War.

Even greater tragedy came with the World War II, which compelled Filipino and American forces join to fight invasion by Japan. After the war’s end, on July 4, 1946, the United States recognized the Independence of the Philippines. It is gratifying to know that Aguinaldo lived to see his Declaration of 1898 redeemed and to know that the Philippines would observe two Independence days.

I give the Filipino American Community of Chicagoland my best wishes as it commemorates this first of the two Independence days of their country of heritage.



Cook County Treasurer”

Thank you Treasurer Pappas for your friendship with the people, like the Asian Americans, when you celebrate their Heritage Month at your office every year. You are one of the few elected officials who cares about our heritage and love for our respective Nativeland! And THANK YOU or Maraming Salamat for your reception and invitation to our Philippine Consulate headed by Consul General Gina A. Jamoralin. One important agenda at the reception was the appointment of our VIA TIMES Publisher VERONICA LEIGHTON as her Deputy Treasurer, to help reach out Filipino Americans homeowners claim their real estate refund stated below. Congratulations, Veronica for accepting a very important Community Service task!

URGENT MESSAGE TO HOMEOWNERS FROM Treasurer Pappas: To HOME OWNERS– the $86 MILLION in REFUNDS and $43 MILLION in exemptions are currently waiting to be claimed by qualified homeowners. PLEASE visit to see if you qualify for this UNCLAIMED MONEY. Do it Now and enjoy your REFUND!

MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT: starting the “wrong foot” for Chicago? The new Lady Mayor wasted no time to show Ald. Ed Burke who’s the Boss at her first City Council meeting. Burke, the longest- (50 years) serving Alderman who is facing so many charges, surprised his critics when he was re-elected!

Speaking against Burke, Ald. Garcia was quoted as saying: “In the five decades that Ald. Burke has been in office, he has used his position to enrich himself and his political cronies while being an impediment to political progress and community empowerment. Make no mistake: Ald. Burke is the last bastion of Chicago machine politics.”

In the heat of the argument at her first Council Meeting, Mayor Lightfoot was quoted as saying about Burke: “I hope that, given the serious federal criminal charges that Ald. Burke is facing, that he focuses on that and what that means for him and his family and not on any of the political gamesmanship. I was surprised that he stood up and tried to make trouble at the first City Council meeting, given the charges that were already pending. Look, you can’t account for human behavior, but I’m hoping that for him in particular, that he focuses on making sure that he takes care of his own business and not trying the stir the pot here.” Showing who’s the boss, Lightfoot closed the argument by telling Burke: “I will call you when I’m ready to hear from you.” The Lady Mayor got an applause! Mama Mia! Hurrah Chicago!

Yes, fellow Chicagoans.In the dead of everyday violence happening in Chicago today which should have been Mayor Lightfoot’s top priority/agenda at her FIRST COUNCIL MEETING, she started USING THE WRONG FOOT “celebrating” it with a showdown with one of her Aldermen. That leaves Chicago torn between a former federal prosecutor (Lightfoot) and a former cop and current 50-year alderman (Burke) who is now out on bond for federal corruption charges. Reminding Burke who she was, the Lady Mayor added:

“Ald. Burke is somebody who likes to test people,” she told reporters. “He likes to see if there are weaknesses, and he has attempted to do this in the past with me and he’s failed spectacularly every time. And every time he tries it, he will again fail spectacularly. I’m not going to start off my term as mayor with the City Council putting up with somebody just playing games for the sport of it. It was “showmanship.” Apparently Ald. Burke has forgotten that I’m a 30-year trial lawyer,” Lightfoot pointed out.



AS OF VIA TIMES’ press time, the PIWC is just done with its successful picnic. Hence, in this issue, we’re sharing our readers some vignettes captured by camera. As we wait for the Gala Night on Saturday, June 15, at the Holiday Inn-Lincolnwood, EDWIN PINEDA, deserves a three-gun salute for his role as Executive Chair of our 2019 PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENCE DAY under the flagship of the PIWC or PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENCE WEEK COMMITTEE. Edwin is articulate, he easily breezes through the usual “loud separate Talking Talking Takie Talk” from some non-listening members who have their own agenda while the official meeting is going on … and, more so, arguments on the table that’s common among officers and members trying to get to the point. To be applauded likewise, is the sincere cooperation from the Beauty Queens, officers and volunteers as well. As of writing this column as Via Times is going to press in a few hours, my coverage this time focuses on the “Sights and Sounds” of PIWC picnic and other wingdings like the rained-out CULTURAL SHOW at the Daley Center on June 12, following the Flag Raising Ceremony by the Philippine Consulate. Rain or shine, the PIWC did the presentation captured in pictures. And, big thanks to ABC TV Ch 7 for the coverage.

To our dear Via Times readers, enjoy the spirit of our Philippine Independence and show our Love for our Nativeland by attending our several community activities. And, most importantly, please pray for PEACE and our KABABAYANS or (fellow countrymen back home especially for President Rodrigo Duterte. Pictures which “speak a thousand words”. In spite of space, I try to pick up some celebratory pictures featured here. Have a wonderful and bless-full PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENCE DAY away from Home. GOD BLESS THE PHILIPPINES. LAND THAT WE LOVE!


Photo above shows some of the Filipino Americans who attended COOK COUNTY TREASURER MARIA PAPPAS’ PHILIPPINE INDENDENCE DAY reception at her office last June 12 following the Cultural Show at the Daley Center. Sorry, can’t identify everyone… except MRS. PIWC 2019 Nelia Ladlad in gown; Anita Rosa, Lindy Tan, Myrna and Vishnu Mahant, Elsie, Ruben Salazar, Edna Pavel, and others. (photo by Dr. M. Escalona)


COOK COUNTY TREASURER MARIA PAPPAS reads the documents appointing Via Times Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Veronica Leighton as her Deputy Cook County Treasurer. Looking on are Philippine Consul Gen. Gina Jamoralin (1st from left) and Elsie Sy-Niebar, extreme right, VT senior editor/columnist. (Photo by Lindy Tan)


Feisty former US Federal Prosecutor now CHICAGO MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT “grandstanded” her First Council meeting with a fight against long-time (50 years) Chicago Alderman Ed Burke. Is she starting with the “wrong foot”?


Congratulations to Eagle’s Wings Lions Club Charter President Lydia A. Tayco on their successful Fashion Show last June 1, held at the AlGauer’s Hilton. Proceeds go to the Kent Lions and Helen Keller Walk/Run Foundation. More details on this next VTimes’ issue. In photo are Lion President Lydia Tayco, Lion District 1-A Governer Howard Swacker, Elsie your columnist, past District Gov. Austin D’Souza, and Rev. Pascual Tayco, EGL Membership Chair. (Photo by Dr. Manny Escalona)


Above are some of the hard-working officers /volunteers for the PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENCE WEEK COMMITTE who put up the 2019 Cultural Performance at the Daley Center, last JUNE 12, PHILIPPINE INDEPENDENCE DAY. From left are Lindy Tan, Vishnu and Myrna Mahant, Cora Guzon, EDWIN PINEDA, Overall Chair; Brenda Stevens, Master of Ceremonies; Mercy Matouseck, past PIWC chair; and Dr. Manny Escalona, “roving photographer”.

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More models at the PIWC Fashion Show at the Daley Center, from left: Cora Guzon,Mercy Matousek, coordinator; JetJet Gruezo, model/ incoming 2020 PIWC Overall Chair; unidentified and Nerizza Pineda, model/Beauty Queens coordinator. (Photo by Dr. M. Escalona)


My Living Room-grown pepper from Joe Mauricio’s balcony garden. Joe gave me the seeds, I planted it and voila, from that teeny-winnie seed came out this Green Pepper nourished by the sunshine from my window. That’s like human Love. With sunshine, clear water and nurturing, Love grows Lovelier.


“THE YOUNG ONCE, disqualified to ramp”– Elsie Sy-Niebar, Dr. Remy Escalona and Cora Gumila.

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