LOS ANGELES – With some 60 supporters by her side, Grace Grande, the woman who claims to be a former mistress of Philippine congressman Patricio Antonio, turned herself in to federal authorities Friday morning.
After spending a day in custody, she underwent a bail hearing and was released late Friday afternoon.
“Being handcuffed and shackled and in chains is really hard for me. It brings back bad memories from the first time I was detained,” said Grande as she exited the courthouse.
Grande was in the process of filing for political asylum, when the Philippine government issued her extradition orders over theft charges last month.
An employee of Patricio claimed the 40-year-old Grande had stolen some P1.8 million worth of jewelry.
Grande said she decided to turn herself in as a show of good faith and to expedite the process as she continues to fight for her asylum, while fighting extradition.
“The larger issue is that this congressman, his ability to not only harass Grace and her family, but to stalk her all the way to the Philippines," said Jolllene Levid, Representative AF3IRM
"It’s a very unique case. Grace has a very compelling story and we're very appreciative that the US Attorney’s Office was reasonable and able to agree with us on a reasonable bond on this matter,” said Grande’s attorney Firdaus Dordi.
Human rights activists have been supporting Grande and her two teenage children who were fathered by Antonio.
Grande has accused Antonio of abusing and harassing her. She said the only way to escape it is to stay in the U.S. She said she fears that she and her children would get killed if they return to the Philippines.
A federal judge granted Grande a $70,000 bond assurance. Under the bond assurance, money was not given up front; however three people pledged their own money and agreed to be taxed if Grande fails to appear for court.
The Philippine government is expected to file a request for a hearing which includes the formal charges.