Filipino beaten by mafia agrees to settle; donates to charity
MANILA, Philippines – A Filipino based in Lithuania, harassed and beaten by a local mafia boss, has decided to make peace with his aggressors and turn what was an ugly incident into a positive experience.
On June 29, 2012, Filipino Andy Hernandez and his Lithuanian wife, Monika, were harassed by mafia boss Stanislovą Narkevičių, a.k.a. Narkuša who demanded to be served in the couple's restaurant past closing time. At first, the mafia boss verbally insulted Hernandez and threatened him. Then he called 7 of his henchmen to gang up on Hernandez and his wife. (Read: Mafia attacks Filipino cafe-owner in Lithuania)
Hernandez captured the harassment on video through his camera phone. He said his “instinct” urged him to do so. Hernandez filed a case against the mafia men and a series of hearings had ensued since.
More than a year later, Hernandez agreed to a peace deal offered by Narkuša involving LTL 25,000 (USD 10,000).
“The agreement was mediated by a trusted friend and since the trial has been going on for so long it was time to bury the hatchet,” Hernandez told Rappler.
He said the peace agreement would give them the closure they want and a chance to make “something good (come) out of an ugly incident.”
“We decided to accept the money on the condition that we will donate the amount left after we subtract the lawyers fee,” Hernandez added.
The couple will donate their share of the money to their daughter’s school, the Waldorf School in Vilnius, Lithuania.
On Saturday, December 21, the couple signed the peace deal with Narkuša and his two accomplices Paulius Nizauskas and Ramunas Dailyde.
By Lithuanian law, the trial will continue despite the agreement between the parties. The peace agreement, however, may get the accused leniency from the court. The last hearing is set on January 27, 2014 and the Trakai court judge will issue the verdict two weeks after.
Of the LTL 25,000 they will get from the deal, LTL 10,000 (USD 4,000) will go to the lawyer’s fee while LTL 15,000 (USD 6,000) will be donated to their daughter’s school, the Waldorf School in Vilnius.
“We do not want to profit from the incident and we would like to make a negative into a positive,” Hernandez reiterated.
Hernandez said the school was “amazing with very forward-thinking educators.” He said the money will help fund the ongoing school renovation.
“The Waldorf school is a worthy institution surviving only on the donation of the members. It provides an alternative to an outdated state education system and, as a main goal, has the idea of helping the child to reach (his/her) potential of being a creative and responsible human being,” he said.
Waldorf schools are known for their humanistic approach and teaching methods that follow Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner’s educational philosophy. One of the largest independent alternative education movements in the world, the schools’ overarching goal is to develop socially competent and integrated individuals. They are also known for embracing traditional educational tools instead of using technology.
“We are very happy for our daughter to be part of that community...We (are) proud to be a part of that community,” Hernandez added.
Life in Lithuania
Hernandez was a photojournalist for Newsweek magazine for 18 years. He covered major historical events and conflicts including the Ninoy Aquino assassination, the ouster of former president Marcos, the Tiananmen Square massacre, the collapse of the Soviet Union, the first Gulf War, and the Rwandan civil war.
He has lived in Lithuania for more than a decade and now owns 3 cafes in the capital city Vilnius and one in Trakai, where the incident happened.
Hernandez said the country's economy has rebounded after it was hit hard by the global financial crisis in 2009.
“Lithuania is now coming out (of) an economic austerity nightmare...Criminal elements have been largely controlled by the state law enforcement,” he said.
He said the country’s future was “bright” and that the Filipino community there is really satisfied.
“The Filipino community is now growing and are happy being here. As the Lithuanian economy gets better it will attract more foreign workers,” he said.
He added, “I am optimistic about the country's ability to successfully deal with rising problems.”
Hernandez said he and his wife will stand by their testimonies on the last hearing but that they will not file an appeal to whatever the judge’s decision will be.
Below is an interview of Andy Hernandez during the first days of the trial courtesy of 15min.lt.