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Pinoy Abroad

Fil-Am mother, son assaulted in New York

A Filipino-American mother and her son were the latest victims of a racially-motivated attack in the United States.

Cecille Martinez-Lai was with her 24-year-old son Thursday afternoon last week when they were harassed and physically assaulted by three suspects — one female and two males — in New York City.

According to Cecille, they had just alighted from a vehicle when the suspects, who were onboard a white SUV, started taunting them by calling them "ugly Asians."

Cecille said they ignored the taunts, but one of the suspects threw water at them, prompting her to throw the food she was holding to the suspects' vehicle.

As seen on the CCTV footage released by the New York Police District (NYPD), the suspects then got out of their vehicle and one of them punched Cecille.

"I was knocked out unconscious for a little bit. When I came back with my senses, when I woke up, I was worried about my son. I looked at the side and I saw my son was being punched," Cecille said.

Cecille said even though her son was a member of the US Marines, he did not fight back and chose instead to attend to her.

The video also showed the suspects seemingly trying to run over the victims with their vehicle.

In a joint statement, lawmakers from Queens — US Congress member Grace Meng, Deputy State Senate Majority Leader Michael Gianaris, State Senator Jessica Ramos, New York City Council member Shekar Krishnan, New York State Assembly member Jessica Gonzalez-Roxas and Filipino-American New York State Assemblyman Steven Raga — condemned the attack.

"We stand in solidarity with Cecille and her family during difficult time. Within our role as elected officials, we remain firmly committed to combating hate and bigotry in all its form and ensuring that everyone is our community is treated with respect, dignity, and kindness," they said.

"We are close communication with Cecille and her family, the hospital, Community organization, and 115 NYPD present and await further updates," they added.

Philippine Consul General Senen Mangalile, meanwhile, said they are ready to extend assistance to the victims.

"The Philippine Consulate General in New York was able to speak with Mrs. Martinez-Lai on March 3 to express our concern and offer whatever assistance we can. Our capability to assist is limited by the fact that Mrs. Lai and her son are not dual citizens," he said.

"Nonetheless, we call on local authorities to expeditiously resolve this case to prevent any future incidence from occurring." —Dave Llavanes Jr./KBK, GMA Integrated News