Thank you for your service, Victor Malabayabas

The death of Victor Malabayabas on August 20 at the hands of an unidentified robber has once again incensed the Filipino American community as well as Americans who believe military veterans deserve better.

Malabayabas, 60, was busy bringing groceries into his home in the Canton neighborhood of Baltimore when the unknown assailant approached him to ask for a tissue. The man then grabbed him by the shirt, pushed him against a vehicle, and then threw him to the ground. The suspect then took his wallet and quickly fled the area, according to Baltimore police.

A campaign described Malabayabas as a “good man” who became the victim of a senseless crime.

“He donated a lot of time to St. Casimir Church in Canton as well as many other organizations. He even has a garden of vegetables that he would grow in St. Casimir’s garden and gave the food to people in the community,” says organizer Jacqueline Fields.

A Navy pilot in the Philippines for 11 years, Malabayabas came to the U.S. in 1996 and worked odd jobs when he first got here. He eventually found work as a temp at investment bank Morgan Stanley and rose through the ranks to become a broker. He retired from Morgan Stanley in 2019 with the title Operations Specialist. He is survived by his wife Carina; children Camille, Greg, Keira and Miguel, two grandchildren, and legions of friends who are drawn to his quiet and amiable personality.

A 2013 article in the Catholic Review magazine published by the Archdiocese of Baltimore profiled Malabayabas as a volunteer who kept watch over Patterson Park in Baltimore City.  

With wife Carina. Facebook photo

While working on a boat ferrying passengers from Manhattan to Queens, the boat captain, impressed with his work ethic and the fact that he was a pilot, announced at a family Thanksgiving dinner: “This year I have one wish. I have a guy who works for me. He’s a good guy and I trust him. Is there anybody who can give him a job? If he can fly a helicopter, he can do something better.” The boat captain’s sister found him a job as a temp for Morgan Stanley, according to the magazine.

Absolutely horrifying

National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) President Mariela Fletcher said in a press statement, “It is absolutely horrifying that crimes like this continue to happen, particularly to the vulnerable members of our community, and a Navy veteran, no less.”

Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba (Ret) said the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project is “deeply saddened and outraged that a violent act was inflicted on someone who has served his country honorably.”

NaFFAA National Chair Brendan Flores issued a call to action, saying, “Our elderly kababayans, especially someone like Tatay Victor and many others, who have sacrificed a lot for their family and country, have the right to exist without fear. We call on elected officials, local authorities, and public servants to take concrete action…We ask for authorities and elected officials in Baltimore, Maryland, to take the necessary steps to heighten police visibility and address mental health issues, especially among the homeless.”

Donors to the Gofundme campaign were moved by the story of a kind man who loved his community, a “loving husband and father,” and a “good neighbor.” – Cristina DC Pastor

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