By Alex P. Vidal
“People know accuracy when they read it; they can feel it.”—Alan Furst
I AM sad that instead of directly answering the very valid issues I raised in an article on the two recent suspicious stories of alleged “Asian Hate” crime-related incidents involving two Filipinos, Philippine Consulate New York Consul General Elmer Cato chose to keep quiet and instead allowed those who have nothing to do with the issue—the sip-sips and the barking dogs in the Filipino community—to hit me.
In an effort to divert the issue, the sip-sips and the barking dogs were the ones who attacked me while Consul General Cato maintained his silence and has refused to answer and explain the valid issues I raised.
I have a bad news for all of them: I stand by my article and their personal attacks will not stop me from seeking the truth in the name of public interest.
On July 19, 2022, I wrote an article entitled, “Another suspicious crime story from RP Consulate New York” where I questioned the veracity of the two stories in May and July about the two alleged cases of so-called “Asian Hate” crimes supposedly committed against 1) A Filipino health worker and 2) An “18-year-old tourist.”
The two stories created ripples in the Philippine media after reporters picked them from the Twitter account of the very popular Philippine Consulate General New York Consul General Elmer Cato.
In the first alleged incident Cato twitted in May, he claimed that a Filipino health worker “punched” an “attacker” for wiping her saliva on the Filipino while they were both riding on the same train.
In New York when you touched someone in an intimidating manner, you would be arrested by the New York Police Department (NYPD). In this case, the Filipino health worker got away with murder? No police report. No name of both the Filipino worker and the alleged saliva wiper? No news from any media outlet in New York or anywhere in the United States. No nothing—except in Cato’s tweet.
In the good consul general’s second tweet in July, he alleged that an “18-year-old tourist” was mauled by an “Asian hater” while walking in Manhattan. Again, he didn’t identify the “victim” and there was no story in the New York press.
A video from ABS-CBN that went viral showed a Tagalog-speaking man claiming he “rescued” the supposed 18-year-old victim and they all gave chase to the alleged assailant “and the suspect was arrested by the NYPD.”
If we review that ABS-CBN video again (I’m sure it is still there in the social media), no NYPD cop was interviewed in relation to the alleged mauling and the suspect’s alleged “arrest”.
I suspect, Consul General Cato picked what he had Tweeted about the incident from that incomplete ABS-CBN story.
I maintain that there have been no credible sources or pieces of evidence that will support the alleged mauling incident involving that “18-year-old tourist” in Manhattan as claimed by that Tagalog-speaking Good Samaritan in the ABS-CBN video and by Consul General Cato himself in his Twitt.
Also, the place where the alleged mauling incident occurred was surrounded by CCTV. It’s impossible for the alleged mauling incident not to be captured by the CCTV.
The twin stories lacked accuracy and the most important details—the what, when, where, who, why, how—were also missing.
In my first article about the controversy, I appealed to the good Consul General to clarify these issues. Was he a victim of what we call in journalism as “kuryente?”
Did somebody feed him with fake news or half truth? The public want to know. In the name of transparency, Consul General Cato should enlighten us.
Instead, what I got were insults, intimidation, and other forms of verbal and written abuses from characters in the Philippine community who have nothing to do whatsoever with the job of the consul general and who are not even connected with the Philippine Consulate.
Gusto lang mag palapad papel ang mga hurong nga ini. And they thought they could silence me.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)