By Jun Nucum
OAKLAND, California – An incumbent Filipino American Alameda County Superior Court Commissioner has filed his candidacy in his bid to become the first elected Filipino Alameda County Superior Court Judge.
And as things are turning out, Commissioner Pelayo Llamas of the City of Oakland in Alameda County CA and with roots from Pagsanjan, Laguna might as well be such as he is currently running unopposed after no other candidate has filed for his/her own candidacy last February 14, the deadline for doing so.
“Finishing 29 years in the legal field and after serving as a Commissioner since 2019, I am confident that my experience make me well qualified to serve as a judge to the people of Alameda County to succeed my mentor Judge Delbert Gee, who is retiring this year upon 20 years as a judge,” Llamas explained.
Born in New Orleans where his father Pelayo F. Llamas Sr. was Consul General in 1963 and thus from an immigrant family and working very hard since he was 15 years old gives Llamas feels he has the ability and background to understand and empathize with the wide variety of people who come to court seeking justice.
“My primary goal in becoming a judge is to have the ability to serve the public in a much wider variety of case types. I feel that my varied life experience will be an asset to the residents of Alameda County who come to the court for fairness, an open ear, and respectful treatment,” Llamas highlighted. “Additionally, I would be proud to serve as the first Filipino-American Judge in Alameda County if I am elected.”
In his attempt for the alameda County top judicial post, Llamas emphasized the importance of the support of Filipinos in his campaign as there reportedly as many as over 100,000 Filipinos living in Alameda County which is 6% of the population and Asians are over 30% of the county population.
“Aware that a number of cities have large Fil-Am populations: Alameda has over 7%, Hayward has over 8%, Union City has over 18%, Fremont has almost 6%, and San Leandro has over 7%. Newark has over 8%. Filipinos can vote and influence my race and be part of a historic election that can be a source of pride. More importantly, they can help make the Alameda County Court better reflect its population,” Llamas stressed. .
As a Fil Am, Llamas only has glowing words for California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil Sakauye who, to him, is a great source of pride to Fil-Am lawyers and judges in the state and nationally.
“I have met her many times in Sacramento during my work for the bar and the court system. We can all take inspiration from the high standards she exemplifies, and dream to make a difference at the highest levels. I wish more Fil-Am outside the legal community would learn about her story and accomplishments,” beams Llamas on an accomplished compatriot.
Sakauye is the 28th Chief Justice the California Supreme Court being nominated to the post by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on July 22, 2010, and retained in office by California voters on November 2, 2010.
On concerns of Filipinos that may be addressed with his victory, Llamas will add cultural sensitivity to the court system in the U.S.
In particular, Llamas pointed to understanding the levels of kinship and broader use of terms like Lolo and Lola, or Tito and Tita, or Kuya and Ate as Filipinos use these terms to mean someone very close although not necessarily a blood relative.
And his wish to accomplish as a Filipino as a superior court judge, Llamas would like to instill the Fil-Am community with an understanding that they can influence the political process and be represented at all levels of government.
“We are too big of a group to be silent in many elected offices. More particulartly, I hope it will expand my ability to be a role model to Fil-Am attorneys as well as college and high school students,” Llamas reminded. “Please grab this opportunity to make history by voting June 7 to elect me as the first Filipino American Judge of the Alameda County Superior Court.”