Justice for John Albert Laylo, 35

Human rights lawyer known for his love for the underdog. Facebook photo

By Cristina DC Pastor

A lawyer who had worked with the political opposition in the Philippines was killed in what police believe to be a “random shooting” in Philadelphia.

John Albert Laylo, a lawyer for presidential candidate Leni Robredo, was in an Uber cab with his mother on their way to the Philadelphia International Airport when shots rang out and they were hit by random bullets. Reports say he was hit in the back of the head and died on June 19. His mother Leah Laylo survived sustaining only minor injuries. Reports say the shots may have originated from a Black Nissan Maxima that was behind the Uber taxi.

Laylo also worked as a staffer of former senator and political prisoner Leila de Lima, according to multiple accounts.

The Filipino community on the East Coast reacted with shock and dismay, and urged the U.S. government to catch the perpetrators.

Says 2016 Pafcom Grand Marshal Gwen de Vera: “I feel so sorry it cut off his future. I am so sorry to his family. I hope they will find the killer.”

Community leader in Pennsylvania Brad Baldia invited the community to an “evening of remembrance” dedicated to Laylo. “A time to support his family, to pray for his eternal rest, and to show solidarity as a community,” he writes on Facebook.

With his mother Leah Laylo  during a family vacation in the U.S. that took them to Washington D.C. and Philadelphia. Fatal stray bullets prevented them from proceeding to Chicago to visit his grandfather’s grave.

A Gofundme campaign has raised $14,048as of June 23, toward a goal of $25,000.

Consul General Elmer Cato exhorted the community to “continue to pray for our kababayan, Atty. John Albert Laylo and his mother Leah.”

“We went to see them this morning to assure them that the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Philippine Consulate General in New York, and leaders of the Filipino community are there to support them in this difficult time,” writes Cato on Facebook. “We are also in touch with police authorities and have underscored the importance of our request for them to bring the perpetrator of this incident to justice.”

An obituary for Laylo described him as a lawyer, political strategist, advocate, and educator. According to Zuasola Funeral Homes, he finished his Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Political Science, at the University of the Philippines in Manila, and earned his law degree from De La Salle University. He completed a Masters in Law degree from the Central European University in Budapest.

“His passion for politics led him to a lasting career in campaign management, election science, and legislation, which also included a short but fruitful stint as an educator. And his love of the underdog led to engagements in commercial law, political law, and human rights in his legal practice,” states the obituary.

“In his last moments, with his body all but shut down, he gripped his mother’s hand and gave his loved ones a final act of courage and love in the face of adversity. And in his death, caused by a senseless act of brutality, he gave the world a resounding cry for meaningful, lasting change.”

Laylo is survived by his father; Leah, his mother; and two sisters, Ann Lorraine and Althea Ann.

Funeral service will take place in Sucat, Paranaque at a date yet to be announced. The family is requesting that family and friends send flowers or plant a tree in his memory.

© The FilAm 2022


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