Filipino lawyer John Albert “Jal” Laylo, earlier reported to have been shot dead in a random shooting in Philadelphia over the weekend, is still alive and on life support, tweeted Elmer Cato, the Philippines’ Consul General in New York.
Jal’s sister, Althea, tweeted at about 9:30 p.m. that they were told he had less than a 5% chance of surviving.
“But now, miracles are starting to happen. He squeezed my mom’s hand three times and started mildly breathing on his own. Thank you so much for the prayers and I am begging you all to please keep praying. He was undergoing a test to confirm if he is brain dead, but he responded. He will be having another test in an hour, please stand with us in prayer. Miracles are real,” she said.
Incoming Department of Migrant Workers secretary Susan Ople, who was also erroneously informed that Jal had died, asked for prayers that the young lawyer would survive.
Jal, 36, and his mother were in an Uber vehicle in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to catch their flight to Chicago when a still-unknown assailant fired at them.
One of six bullets struck Jal, 36, in the head, while his mother suffered slight injuries due to glass fragments.
The incident was reported by Ople to Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
In his tweet on Sunday morning, Locsin said, “Laylo [was] shot in the head” and instructed embassy officials to bring home the body and Jai’s mother.
“We are saddened by the death of a kababayan (fellow Filipino) in a random shooting incident in Philadelphia. We ask you to join us in praying for the eternal repose of his soul,” New York Consul General Elmer Cato said in another tweet.
“We are also in touch with police authorities in Philadelphia who informed us that the case is being investigated and that no arrests have been made so far. We call on authorities to bring the perpetrator of this crime to justice,” he added.
Cato’s deputy, Armand Talbo, went to the hospital and met with Jal’s mother and other relatives.
“I was able to talk to her and assured her of DFA and Philippine Consulate’s support,” Cato reported.
Ople posted on Facebook that she was in shock after confirming the bad news.
“I can’t believe you are gone. My mind can’t process this tragedy — the viciousness of it all, how senseless this crime was. You live in our hearts. We love you, Jal Laylo,” she posted.
Jal’s Facebook account indicated he was a graduate of Makati Science High School, University of the Philippines Diliman (Political Science), De La Salle University (Law), and Central European University in Budapest, Hungary (International Business Law).
He passed the Bar in 2015 and has also worked in the Senate.
In previous interviews, Cato always reminded Filipinos in the US to stay vigilant as hate crimes against Asians are getting more frequent.
Several Filipinos in New York have been attacked for no reason, some were pushed down the stairs of subway stations or hit with hard objects.
Forbes.com reported on June 10 that 22 mass shootings have already taken place in the US this year.
“Violent gun deaths spiked by 35% in 2020 and homicide numbers — which are shootings in 80% of cases — remained just as high in 202 as they had been in the previous year. Mass shootings of any kind also experienced a peak in 2021 — 77 were recorded by Gun Violence Archive — while 2020 proved to be an about average year,” Forbes wrote. (PNA)