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Ms Veronica Leighton


By: Maria Girlie Pascual


Bold, ballsy, beautiful, Veronica Leighton started Via Times Newsmagazine in 1982 with no publishing experience. Not even a journalism degree. A young, contented mother to Bobby Leighton, she never dreamed of owning her own business, particularly in the publishing field. After contributing a regular social column Midwest Edition, for the first national Filipino publication in America in the 70’s, the Philippine News, published in San Francisco, a few friends talked her into launching her own magazine for Chicago. With just $300 dollars, hope, prayers and marketing chutzpah, 40 years later and counting, Veronica has established herself as the best, well- known, and revered female publisher in our Filipino American Community of Chicago.

Now fast forward to 2022, these last couple of years have been her most challenging thus far, COVID wreaking havoc on her private and public life, claiming not only the life of her beloved “Irogski” Joe Mauricio, but almost stopped Via Times in its tracks, including her sister media company, CPRTV show (of which I am a part of) the Chicago Philippine Reports TV). But, fortunately, both media entities never skipped a beat in entertaining the community since its founding. The proud Filipino spirit lived on in our annual Chicago Filipino American Hall of Fame awards ceremony, but COVID-19 took its toll on that as well, ending a 25-year run that featured our best and brightest “kababayans” whose lives of service and supreme accomplishments made this engaging and elegant annual awards night gala always a well-attended event. She proclaims that she’s just in the “Covid respite” period to restart this prestigious gala event this year.

So one would think the demise of her soul mate, the challenge of once more being a solo act in her publishing company and TV production would slow this lady down, but “au contraire, mon ami” (on the contrary my friend). This indefatigable, diminutive power house of a woman that’s seen many things, and has lived through a thousand lives, not only doubled-down on work, but on her social life as well. Where many expected her to slow down, give up her passion for the written words, and stop being involved in her chosen profession as publisher, TV producer, and community leader, Veronica not only has proven everyone wrong, but has been making her presence felt through her continuing TV interviews via Zoom, consistently circulating her state-of-the-art newsmagazine online ( and throughout the different areas of Chicago where she delivers the newspapers to personally. She has also achieved higher visibility through social media and accepting friends’ and associates’ invitations.

Sometimes one has to wonder, really? At this stage in her life, she has debunked all expectations of what senior life should be — a day by the pool, sipping tea and waiting for family and friends to visit. Oh no, Ms. Veronica Leighton continues to grab the bull by the horns, sipping champagne and throwing herself a glamorous Kentucky Derby-themed hat brunch party at the posh Drake Hotel in Oak Brook, as she turned “28” (reversed number) recently, surrounded by 25 of her stylish, loving femme soul sisters who have been on this life’s journey with her at some point or another. One recurring sentiment at her recent fun-filled soiree was their love and respect for Veronica, and in return, Veronica’s deep appreciation for their gift of friendship, laughter, and loyalty through the years. Still up for the next chapter and challenges even as the years continue to roll on, Veronica has been an inspiration to many young women (even adult ladies) that want to emulate her independence and drive, a target to her bashers whose negativity rolls over her back like raindrops, and an enigma to all that have come to know her. To me, she has been a steadfast and genuine friend and mentor, and I still learn a lot watching her even today, as she navigates the rest of her life with unbridled energy, unwavering commitment to her craft, and a vision that is never short-sighted nor narrow-minded.

Cheers to you, my friend, the Ultimate Woman of Chicago, the first and only Filipina receiving the Women Hall of Fame award in Chicago awarded by then-Mayor Richard Daley! We await with eager anticipation to witness the rest of your life as it unfolds in front of our eyes, outside of, and within the pages of your beloved baby, the iconic Via Times Newsmagazine, the prize-winning “The Best Print Magazine in 2019,” by the Commission on Filipinos Overseas under the auspices of the President of the Philippines. Chicago’s Premier Media Lady, Veronica’s other media flagship consists of the broadcast media CPRTV and web publication, Her social media Facebook account is highly-liked and followed (vero leighton account).

Enjoy pictures of her two-week-long celebration and watch for her birthday video courtesy of editor/producer James DC, online, on Facebook and on Chicago Cable 25.

PS: Veronica would like to send her sweet thank you’s to her loving family and friends who have shown their love and thoughtfulness on her special birthday celebration….Son Bobby and family, wife Christy and children Maya and Christian; sisters Neneth Miranda, Mariquit Divinagracia and husband Ulysses, and Rhodora Gutierrez, cousins Gloria Vargas and Hector Luciano; loving friends Rey and Cristina Nonato, Nick Vera Perez; Jan Paul Ferrer; Gerry Rebello, Gloria Sguros, Dan Gawat, Don and Flor Kramer, James DC and Girlie Pascual, Elizabeth and Elbert Regacho, Liza Vasich, Drs. Remy & Manny Escalona, Dely Villalon, Violeta Montoya, Norma Manankil, Brenda Stevens, Melody de Guzman, Rev. Nancy Abiera, Andee Belarmino, Rita Carino, Malou Borja, Sol Guinsatao, Nelia Ladlad, Janet Masangcay, Attorney Janice Dantes and Mom Leony Dantes, Nenen Cabatingan Maghanoy, Jane Palomar and Ruth Juachon.


Photos by: James DC, Edna Pavel and Rita Carino


Lovely ladies and their chapeaux


Friendship Trust Love


Rev. Nancy Abiera


Triple Treats with Dely, Norma and Vero


Flor and Brenda loved the prime rib


Andee Belarmino


Drs. Manny and Remy Escalona with Veronica.


Cheers to Veronica!


Sol Guinsatao, Rita Carino, Yoly Zoleta


Champagne toast for Veronica


Stylish and fun Kentucky Derby hats galore !

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