The death of the Filipino lawyer who was shot while on his way to an airport in Philadelphia last month may have been a case of “mistaken identity.”
Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel Romualdez reiterated New York Consul General Elmer Cato’s previous statement during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum on Wednesday.
“The latest is I think they’ve already identified or I’m not sure if they’ve already apprehended the suspect, [but] that was a case of mistaken identity,” Romualdez said.
Romualdez added that Cato is closely following the case to ensure justice for the Filipino lawyer.
John Albert Laylo, a 35-year-old Philippines government attorney, and his mother, Leah Bustamante Laylo, traveled to the U.S. to visit relatives. They were on their way to the Philadelphia International Airport to catch a flight to Chicago when their Uber vehicle was attacked by still unknown suspects on June 18.
Laylo was struck in the back of the head with a bullet. His mother sustained minor injuries from the shattered car window.
The lawyer was placed on life support and later succumbed to his injuries the next day at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in West Philadelphia.
Romualdez also addressed concerns regarding anti-Asian hate crimes in the U.S. He said consulates have been coordinating with the Filipino community to help protect them from ongoing threats amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are always in touch with the authorities and every time there is a major issue, we immediately send a note to the US State Department to call their attention to it,” Romualdez said.