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Visa Delays Keep Relatives From Funeral

The State Department took so long granting visas to the mother and two sisters of a courthouse shooting victim that they were unable to arrive in time for the funeral, a friend of the family said.

The visas for Encaranacion Orbiso, mother of the late Phoebe Dizon, 46, and two sisters, Edith DaPal and Miriam Parcon, were granted Thursday.

The earliest they could have arrived was 8:30 a.m. Saturday, too late for them to clear Customs and make it to Dizon’s funeral at 9:30 a.m., said Ella de Guzman, a friend of the family.

The Seattle Times reported Friday that visas for the trio initially were denied for unstated reasons.

The embassy in Manila issued a visa Wednesday to Dizon’s brother, Carlito Orbiso. Only after Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., faxed a letter to John Negroponte, U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, were the women granted visas.

Murray said an embassy worker and a State Department official told her single Filipino women are routinely denied visas because of concern that if they are allowed into the United States, they will get married and stay.

“The official bureaucratic line we were getting was that if they let these people come over, they’ll stay.”