POSTSCRIPT / June 26, 2022 / Sunday


Philippine STAR Columnist

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Pinoy lawyer killed in Philly ‘by mistake’

Philadelphia officials are telling Philippine diplomats following up the June 18 fatal shooting of 35-year-old Filipino lawyer John Albert Laylo, on his way to the airport with his mother, that it was most likely a case of mistaken identity.

John Albert Laylo with his mother Leah Bustamante Laylo in Philadelphia. Photo: John Albert Laylo's Facebook page

The assessment was given Tuesday by Philadelphia City Mayor James Kenney and police officials in a meeting with Consul General Elmer G. Cato of the PHL consulate in New York City and police attachè P/BrigGen Wilson Joseph Lopez of the PHL embassy in Washington, DC.

Asked what he thought of that assessment, Cato told us: “Philadelphia has seen a lot of homicides in the past year. John Laylo was apparently at the wrong place at the wrong time.”

The police analyzing surveillance videos of the attack said they believe the gunman was targeting a vehicle similar to the Uber taken by Laylo. A $20,000 reward, meanwhile, has been offered for information leading to the arrest of the shooter.

The consul later discussed with Laylo’s mother Leah the arrangements for the repatriation of her son’s remains on Tuesday.

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In Los Angeles, the police have arrested the man who reportedly attacked a Filipino family at a McDonald’s drive-thru in North Hollywood last month and charged him with hate crime enhancements.

Nicholas Weber, 31, was arrested in Orange County on June 16, after authorities received a call about a man “possibly passed out on the sidewalk” who turned out to be Weber.

Arrested on an outstanding warrant from the Los Angeles police, Weber is facing charges of felony battery causing serious bodily injury and misdemeanor battery, both with hate crime enhancements (similar to “aggravating circumstances” in Philippine law).

Weber was filmed harassing and assaulting the family at the drive-thru on May 13. The video showed the suspect bumping Nerissa Roque’s car, then telling her and her daughter Patricia that they were ”so Asian” and threatening them.

Weber allegedly assaulted Gabriel Roque, 60, who arrived after her daughter Patricia called him. He suffered a broken rib from the attack. Nerissa was allegedly choked while trying to stop Weber.

• The hazards of quoting email

My “Postscript” of May 17 was ready for submission when I decided to replace the lower portion dwelling on the technical traps in the automated voting system with a reaction to the election of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. that the average voter could find more relatable than computer talk.

The reaction was emailed by a friend, GSGarcia, who wrote: “This ‘Rejoinder to German Post’ probably reflects reactions of many to the election of Marcos Jr. We can intellectualize our reactions, but Ms. Ana Cristina Tuazon’s message strikes me as coming direct from human feelings stirred in many Filipinos frustrated by the events.”

Concurring with GSG’s opinion, I reopened my column to put in what would fit of Ms Tuazon’s article. I also forwarded it, unedited, to a few friends.

I put in the subhead “What do we tell our children?” not only to separate it from the first part but primarily to segue to her opening line “This is the question I’ve been hearing…”

After my intro – “Our email box bulges with spirited notes on issues related to the elections. Here’s one from Anna Cristina Tuazon (edited to fit space)” – I quoted several paragraphs of her article.

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I apologize for apparently having offended Ms Tuazon, who said in an email to me: “I hope and assume it was an innocent mistake but I hope you can agree that this is quite a serious grievance to publish another columnist’s article under your own and make it seem that I have emailed you my article. I hope we can correct this error as soon as possible.”

There was NEVER ANY ATTEMPT, DESIRE OR NEED on my part to claim authorship of that piece. It was properly tagged as having been written by Ms Tuazon, but edited – some veterans at the desk would say “boiled down” from 770 to 630 words – to fit space.

I’m truly sorry for quoting her article at length instead of totally ignoring it, and for not going out of my way to announce that it was not her but an appreciative reader (GSGarcia) who forwarded it to me.

(First published in the Philippine STAR of June 26, 2022)

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