Philippine consul’s plea after push death of nurse in Times Square


A Philippine diplomat pleaded Monday with Big Apple leaders to “make the streets of New York safe again” after the shoving death of a Filipino nurse in Times Square.

Philippines Consul General Elmer Cato said at a Manhattan memorial service for slain nurse Maria Ambrocio that the beloved cancer worker’s death comes after too many others from his country have been victimized in the five boroughs.

“This afternoon, as we mourn the passing of Maria Luningning Ambrocio, I reiterate our call for authorities to take more effective steps to make the streets of New York safe again,” Cato said at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Herald Square.

“While we know that authorities are doing their best, we hope that they exert more serious efforts to make more resources available to make this happen,” he said.

“The Filipino community stands in solidarity with many others who have been calling on authorities to give more focus on improving mental-health care, as well as in strengthening Kendra’s Law so that dangerous people could be taken off the streets,” Cato added.

The 1991 law, named after Kendra Webdale, a 21-year-old aspiring screenwriter who was killed when a deranged man shoved her in front of a Manhattan subway train, allows a judge to compel a mentally ill person to submit to medication or treatment.

Philippines Consul General Elmer Cato pushed for the city to make the streets safer after the death of Maria Ambrocio in Times Square.

Ambrocio, 58, of New Jersey was walking with friends in Times Square in Manhattan on Friday when an alleged crazed homeless man slammed into her and sent her sprawling to the ground.

Ambrocio clung to life until Saturday, when she was declared brain-dead and her family had her taken off life support, relatives told The Post.

Suspect Jermaine Foster, who police say was in the midst of a deranged crime spree when he barreled into Ambrocio, was arraigned on murder charges Sunday and is being held without jail pending a grand jury presentation Wednesday morning.

Ambrocio — who was a nurse in New Jersey — was pushed down by a mugger while walking in Times Square with friends.
Ambrocio — who was a nurse in New Jersey — was pushed down by a mugger while walking in Times Square with friends.

Foster, 26, had allegedly stolen a 29-year-old woman’s cell phone and was fleeing when he struck Ambrocio. Earlier in the day, he barged into another woman’s home and stolen $15, according to court records.

Ambrocio, a beloved cancer nurse at Bayonne Medical Center in New Jersey, had been walking with longtime friends Norma Lardizabal and Emilia Cruz when she was fatally injured.

“When the guy bumped her, she fell,” Cruz said. “She fell and hit the fire door and then the pavement. It happened so quickly. It’s too much. I can not say enough. This is a big loss.”

She said the three women had gone to the consulate to renew Cruz’s brother’s passport when the fatal incident happened.

“It was very quick, you know?” Lardizabal said of the fatal encounter. “That guy was really at once in front of us and, smack! I saw him. I glanced at him. Crazy? I don’t know. He was running.

“She is more than a friend, she added through tears of Ambrocio. “We are sisters.”

Ambrocio was just the latest native of the Philippines to fall victim to New York City violence this year, Cato said during Monday’s service.

Homeless man Jermaine Foster now faces murder charges over Ambrocio's death.
Homeless man Jermaine Foster now faces murder charges over Ambrocio’s death.
Tomas E. Gaston

“She was taken away from us at a time when violence against members of the Filipino community and the larger Asian and Pacific Islander community — whether induced by pandemic-exacerbated xenophobia or mental illness — remain on the rise,” he said.

“Since January, at least nine members of the Filipino community have been at the receiving end of unprovoked acts of violence that have been reported to or monitored by the Philippine Consulate,” Cato told mourners.

Outside the service, Mimi Scudero, a friend of Ambrocio’s from St. Henry Church in Bayonne, said she does not feel as safe as she used to in New York City.

“This is definitely not the streets I have walked in the past years,” Scudero said. “Nor do I wish to walk. In fact, right now we are paying over $60 for parking because we don’t want to walk around the block because we are so nervous.

“Something has to be done so we can get the same safety back,” she said.


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Kathy Lewis

Kathy Lewis is an all-around geek who loves learning new stuff every day. With a background in computer science and a passion for writing, she loves writing for almost all the sections of Editorials99.

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