CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 13 October 2018

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Filipino killed in Slovakia called a hero

MANILA (UCAN): Henry John Acorda, a Filipino expatriate died in Bratislava, Slovakia, on May 31 from injuries sustained after being beaten and kicked in the head by a man believed to be a neo-Nazi on May 26.
 
Acorda, a 36-year-old financial analyst, had reportedly intervened to stop the alleged attacker from harassing two women in Slovakian capital.
 
A 28-year-old local, identified only as Juraj H., was arrested and charged with manslaughter.
 
Bishop Ruperto Santos, chairperson of the Episcopal Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People of the Philippine bishops’ conference, said, “With what (Acorda) did, we see the true and noble intentions of our migrant workers,” said the bishop. “They came to work honestly to help their loved ones and those in need,” he added.
 
The bishop said Acorda’s act of defending the women from attack “reflects our true nature of giving all we have, even our life, to improve lives, to defend lives.”
 
“His death is a powerful message that Filipinos migrate not to harm but to help, to serve and to save,” Bishop Santos said, adding that Acorda died a hero.
 
Acorda’s death enraged Slovaks, mostly young people, around 3,000 of whom rallied in the streets of Bratislava on June 8 with some carrying banners that read “Justice for Henry” and “Nazi brain burn in hell.”
 
Flowers were offered and candles were later lit at an improvised shrine at Hodžovo Námestie square the site of the attack.
 
Slovak prime minister, Peter Pelligrini, condemned the incident and assured that justice will be served, saying it sent “very bad signals to our society.”
 
The Slovak government also offered to provide an aircraft to fly the Acorda’s remains and personal effects, along with his mother and two siblings, to the Philippines on June 13.
 
“We mourn the loss of another of our own who by all accounts is a hero who came to the rescue of the defenseless in a land that is not even his,” said Philippine Foreign Affairs secretary, Alan Peter Cayetano, in a statement.

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