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Maria Teresa Amberti Talag in a photo taken two years ago.


Filipino inmate Maria Teresa Amberti Talag, who was recently granted parole after 27 years in jail, has been transported to a medium security facility for women in upstate New York this week prior to her deportation to the Philippines, the Filipino Reporter has learned.

Talag, 50, last Tuesday left Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, an upstate maximum facility in Bedford Hills, N.Y., where she was jailed since being charged with murder and kidnapping in 1985.

She arrived on the same day at Albion Correctional Facility in Albion, N.Y., where she will be staying until the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) picks her up on a still undetermined date, according to Linda Foglia, spokesperson of the New York State Department of Correctional Services.

ICE would later transfer her to an immigration facility in Buffalo, N.Y., Foglia added, where she will be waiting until the date of her departure for the Philippines.

As of last Monday, visitors were no longer allowed to see Talag as she underwent orientation and preparation for her jail transfer the next day.

Two of Talag’s frequent visitors, Filipino-American physicians Bulaklak Melizza and Dolores Lewey, were prevented from seeing her last Monday, despite previous arrangements, when they drove to Bedford Hills to talk to her for the last time.

Lewey, a Filipina married to a Jewish man, used to work at Bedford Hills and treated Talag’s heart condition and other ailments.

“Dr. Melizza was able to talk to Maria’s counsellor, who informed them that they couldn’t see Maria for security reasons pending her transfer to Albion,” said the doctors’ friend, civic leader Nilda Jaynal, who’s also seeing Talag at Bedford Hills.

Jaynal is currently initiating a fund-raising drive to provide Talag some financial help when she returns to the Philippines.

Deputy Consul General Theresa Dizon-de Vega is believed to be the last person to have seen Talag before she was moved to Albion.

De Vega went to Bedford Hills on Jan. 20 and told the Filipino Reporter that Talag “is in much better spirits and is looking healthy from the last time I visited her in the fall.”

“She is excited about the prospect of going back to the Philippines and really wants to start afresh,” de Vega reported.

“We are now awaiting advice from ICE on the deportation date and their request for the issuance of a travel document for Maria which we will issue as soon as the notice and the flight details from ICE are sent to us,” the deputy consul general said.

“Please note that her earliest release date (Jan. 31, 2012) does not mean she will automatically be sent home on that date but that that is the earliest possible date for her to go. By our experience, the actual deportation is not too far along from the earliest release date.”

De Vega also quoted Talag as saying that she’s “on okay terms already with her two grown children and is looking forward to being reunited with them.”

The children, now in the 30s, were taken care of by three great-aunts on the Talag side, who are based in Obando, Bulacan, and a great grand aunt.
 
“Maria has a good relationship with them and is grateful that they have been supportive of her and the children throughout her ordeal,” de Vega noted.

One of Talag’s aunts is the wife of the late Commission on Elections chairman Leonardo “Leonie” Perez, and not former Rep. Hernando “Nani” Perez of Batangas as earlier reported.

“I am offering a mass for Maria’s safe return and for her well-being once she is in the Philippines,” de Vega also said.

“It’s the least one can do for someone who is trying to rebuild her life,” de Vega also said.

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