"Judge Tani" Wins CA Supreme Ct. Post; Other Filipinos Shine in US Vote

"Judge Tani" Wins CA Supreme Ct. Post; Other Filipinos Shine in US Vote

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An American jurist of Filipino descent has overwhelmingly garnered “Yes" votes to become the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court (SC) following Tuesday’s midterm elections in the United States.

Latest reports from the website of California’s Secretary of State as of Wednesday night (Manila time) show California SC Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye earning some 3.4 million “Yes" votes or 67 percent of the counted votes, as opposed to 1.7 million “No" votes.

The figures account for 96 percent of the state’s over 24,000 precincts.

Cantil-Sakauye, daughter of a Filipina farm worker and a Filipino-Portuguese plantation worker, thus made history as the first Asian-American, and also the youngest jurist, to hold the highest position in any state judiciary in the United States. She will serve a twelve-year term.

The 50-year-old, Sacramento-based jurist holds a Juris Doctor from the University of California, a law degree from the Davis School of Law and an undergraduate degree from the University of California, Davis.

Since 2005, Cantil-Sakauye has served as an associate justice for the Third District Court of Appeals in Sacramento. Previously, she was a superior court judge of the Sacramento County Superior Court from 1997 to 2004 and a municipal court judge of the Sacramento County Municipal Court from 1990 to 1997.

She is married to Sacramento Police Lieutenant Mark Sakauye, and has two daughters: Hana, 14, and Claire, 11.

Cantil-Sakauye was earlier nominated by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to replace Chief Justice Ronald George, who is retiring on January 2, 2011. Her nomination was likewise confirmed by the state’s Commission on Judicial Appointments.

Other Fil-Ams Leading U.S. Polls

Apart from Cantil-Sakauye, other candidates of Filipino descent are promising to emerge victorious based on partial results of the country-wide midterm elections on Tuesday.

State Representative Kymberly Marcos Pine, whose grandparents and great grandparents were from Ilocos Norte, Tarlac and Pangasinan, is leading the race as she seeks re-election to the State House of Representatives of Hawaii for District 23.

A native of Hawaii and a former journalist, Pine has been a State Representative since 2004 after becoming a policy assistant of outgoing California Gov. Schwarzenegger in 2002.

Similarly, Kriselda Valderrama is likely to keep her post as one of the three representatives of Maryland’s District 26 to the state’s House of Delegates, by getting 30 percent of the votes as of posting time.

Meanwhile, several other candidates of Filipino descent are leading in California’s local polls, including three for city mayor and one for city council membership.

Seeking reelection are Pete Sanchez, a former resident of Manila, of Suisun City in Solano County, and Christopher Cabaldon of West Sacramento in Yolo County.

Former Mayor Jose Esteves likewise reclaimed his old post mayor of the City of Milpitas of Santa Clara County, which has concluded its counting of votes.

Incumbent Mayor Michael Guingona of Daly City, on the other hand, is the top vote-getter among candidates for membership to the Daly City Council, the five members of which elect among themselves the next city mayor. Filipina businesswoman Dorie Paniza will likewise be part of the council.

Pat Gacoscos garnered the highest number of votes to become one of the council members for Union City council, while reelectionist Joanne del Rosario is also poised to keep her post as one of the two council member for the town of Colma.

Myrna de Vera, who has an architecture degree from the University of the Philippines, clinched one of the two seats for the Hercules City Council

On the other hand, Chris Pareja, a write-in candidate, lost his bid as Congressional representative of California’s District 13.

Tony Daysog, whose father was from Ormoc City in Leyte, also failed to secure the mayoralty of Alameda City, also in California.

- With Jerrie M. Abella/JV, GMANews.TV