Philippine American Bar Association has big plans for 2019, including potential Filipino judicial nominee

LOS ANGELES — As many benches wait for President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees to be confirmed, the Filipino American community is keeping close watch on one post in California.

At over 30 years, it’s one of the longest running Filipino American industry groups — and they’ve got big things planned in the legal world.

The Philippine American Bar Association kicked off their first mixer of the year, bringing in Filipino lawyers, students and legal professionals.

Throughout the year, the group plans to hold several events from their speaker panels to workshops and fundraise for law school scholarships — all in hopes to give Filipinos in the legal community a voice.

“This year, we’re kinda happy to add on to what PABA has done for the community this year we’re making a big emphasis on really being involved in the Filipino American community locally,” said president John De la Merced. “We’re starting something called the PABA food series, where we’re trying to feature local Filipino restaurants and have our members try them out and hear the stories of the chefs. We’re really excited about Gala coming up.

Throughout the years, PABA has been instrumental in pushing for Filipino American judges.

This year, they’re closely monitoring Patrick Bumatay, whom president Donald Trump nominated for a seat in the 9th circuit court of appeals — but has now been nominated in the Southern District.

“Due to some political issues, he was brought to the southern district in California,” said Philip Nulud. “It’s huge, it shows how great our legal community is and how many very fantastic individuals there are in the different bar associations.”

The non-partisan group believes the Filipino community at large can help propel more Filipinos to the Bench regardless of their parties.

“Talk to your congressmen, talk to your civic leaders, push them to do this because the reason Patrick got his nomination withdrawn from the 9th circuit is because of some pressure from within the Democratic Party so we want to make sure that we support everyone and you tell everyone that we have representation.

It’s now a waiting game to see when Bumatay would get his hearing and confirmation.

Bumatay, who is Republican and openly gay, would be one of the highest ranked Filipino American judges in the county, and would be the first Filipino nominated under the Trump administration.

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