THE Philippine government will help a 65-year-old Filipino-American in New York City who was assaulted in an apparent hate crime, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said on Thursday.
He made the remark when asked by Susan Ople, overseas Filipino advocate, whether the victim, identified as Vilma Kari, was a dual citizen.
“It takes you to remind us of our duty, Susan. @DFAPHL This is a job for ATN (Assisitance to National). The NY consulate can take care of the formalities,” Locsin said on Twitter.
Kari’s assailant, identified as Brandon Elliot, 38, has been arrested. He had been convicted of murdering his own mother in 2002, according to NYPD which offered a $2,500 reward for his whereabouts.
When he learned of Elliot’s arrest, Locsin said, “Too bad he didn’t resist arrest. His is one life that doesn’t matter”.
The victim was attacked on Monday morning near Times Square while she was on her way to church. Elliot first kicked her on the stomach and head as he shouted, “You don’t belong here”.
Elliot was arrested on Wednesday morning in a homeless shelter in West 40th in New York City.
“In a homeless shelter. Well, that’s no excuse…but that is tough. Still angry but thinking what that must be like,” Locsin said.
In a tweet, the NY Police Department said, “Thanks to assistance from the public and excellent investigative work by NYPD Hate Crimes detectives, the individual wanted for Monday’s assault of a 65-year-old Asian female, at 360 West 43rd St. was arrested and charged with felony.”
“Thank you NYPD, you restored the world’s faith and trust in America as she was meant to be,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) chief said.
Locsin also extended, in jest, an all expenses paid trip to Elliot to come to the Philippines.
When the suspect has yet to be arrested, Locsin said, “If we can find that gorilla, I’d like to give him a visa to the Philippines and a business class one way ticket with free two days accommodations. I figure that’s about as much time as would be needed. But I’m open to suggestions. General [Hermogenes] Esperon, any ideas?”
“My invitation still holds to come to the Philippines, all expenses paid. I will do the honors,” Locsin said.
In a statement outgoing District Attorney Cyrus Vance said, “Let me be clear: this brave woman belongs here. Asian-American New Yorkers belong here. Everyone belongs here. Attacks against Asian-American New Yorkers are attacks against all New Yorkers, and my office will continue to stand against hate in all its forms”.