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Visiting Pinoy lawyer who was shot in US dies

Atty. John "Jal" Laylo, the Filipino lawyer who was shot while visiting relatives in the United States, has died.

According to the victim's mother Leah Bustamante Laylo, John died early Monday morning (Philippine time).

"I thank God for the 35 years of his life. I'm beyond grateful for having a good, smart, generous, loving, caring son. These are the adjectives I can think of now. I'm lost of words!" Leah said on Facebook.

The two were in the United States to visit relatives in Philadelphia. They were on board an Uber vehicle en route to an airport when shot by a still unidentified assailant.

Leah sustained minor injuries following the shooting and is now in stable condition while John, who was hit in the head, was placed on life support after he was pronounced brain-dead.

Investigators are looking for CCTV footage of the incident in order to identify the suspect or suspects.

"I can't explain the pain the heaviness I have in my heart. It took me hours to post this because still I can’t believe this happened!" Leah said.

The victim's family is now making arrangements to bring his remains back to the Philippines.

Five minutes drive

Interviewed on Super Radyo dzBB, Leah on Monday said they did not notice anyone following them before the shooting incident happened on Sunday morning (Philippine time).

She said they left the house of her nephew around 4:06 a.m. for a 6 a.m flight. Five minutes drive away from the house, the shooting occurred.

“Ang nasa memory ko po biglang nag-shatter ang salamin sa right side ng car. And then bigla ko na lang nakita 'yung anak ko, dumudugo 'yung face niya so alam ko he was hit,” she said.

(What I can remember is that the window on the right side of the car suddenly shattered. And then I saw the face of my son was bleeding so I knew he was hit.)

Leah said she ducked wearing a backpack when she heard around four to six more gunshots. Then the driver stopped the car.

“Tapos naisip ko na humingi ako ng, kasi po nag-hysterical na po ako, sabi ko ‘God, not my son’, ‘what's happening?’” she said.

(Then I thought of seeking help, because I already went hysterical, saying ‘God, not my son’, ‘what’s happening?’)

She thought about asking help from the driver but she saw that the driver was not in his seat anymore. She took the phone of John who was already having convulsion.

“Napakasakit noong makita ko na nangingisay po 'yung anak ko sa tabi ko, wala po akong nagawa (It is painful for me to see my son having seizures beside me, and I can’t do anything),” she said.

After two to three minutes, the police arrived. Leah said the police held her for two hours for investigation and later on brought her to the hospital.

“Sinabi sa akin na ang anak ko is ooperahan daw po. So sad na he was just given 5% chance of living kasi napaka-fatal po ng tumama sa kanya. Sa ulo po, headshot po, right, lumabas dito po sa noo,” she said.

(I was informed that my son will undergo an operation. So sad that he was just given 5% chance of living because he suffered from a fatal shot, a headshot on the right, and it exited to his forehead.)

According to Leah, John needed to undergo an operation to make space for the inflammation of his left brain.

John was declared dead at around 10:33 a.m.

Leah said they have no update yet regarding the police investigation into the incident.

She said the Uber driver apologized to her and explained that he left the vehicle due to shock after the shooting.

After the organ donation is done, Leah said the consuls in Washington and New York will help in the repatriation of John’s remains.

As a lawyer, John worked under Senator Leila de Lima and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas. He was also one of the lawyers of outgoing Vice President Leni Robredo during the canvassing of votes in Eleksyon 2022 wherein she ran for president.

De Lima said she was shocked and saddened upon learning Laylo's death as she extended her sympathies to the family of her former legislative staff whom she described as “a man of high energy and vibrant spirit.”

“My deepest condolences on Jal's untimely passing. He was so young and still full of dreams. He was part of my legislative team for two years before he left to pursue his Masters,” De Lima said in her message addressed to Laylo's family.

“Isang mabuting tao at mahusay na katrabaho (He is a good person and a great workmate), a man of high energy and vibrant spirit. No words can ease the pain that you are feeling right now but I pray that Jal's beautiful memories will give you comfort in this difficult time,” she added.

She earlier expressed hope the authorities would ensure that the suspect in the shooting incident would be held accountable.—Dave Llavanes Jr. and Joviland Rita/KBK/KG/AOL, GMA News