Born to a Filipino father and Italian mother, 56 years old Cesar Altieri Sayoc, Jr. grew up with hardly a memory of his father who abandoned him as a child. With no father to look up to, Sayoc searched the wilderness for a father figure.
According to Ancestry.com, Sayoc’s father was born in 1932 in Manila. He migrated to the U.S. in 1956 and lived in North Miami Beach. He was naturalized U.S. citizen in 1970. He died in 2009.
Sayoc’s mother, the former Madeline Altieri was born in Brooklyn, New York. Sayoc’s parents met in 1959 while attending the Marinello Beauty School in New York. They moved to Florida where records show that Sayoc’s mother had run several businesses in the State, including one that appears to be a beauty salon.
Court records show that Sayoc had been living with his mother and stepfather in Florida for sometime. However, they kicked him out recently and he has since been living in his van.
In his LinkedIn profile, Sayoc claims to have come from a family involved in martial arts in the Philippines. Known as Sayoc Kali, the indigenous form of martial arts was founded by Christopher Sayoc, Sr. Sayoc claims he is the grandson of Col. Baltazar Zook Sayoc, the father of Christopher Sayoc, Sr.
But a statement issued by US-based Sayoc Global, LLC, who owns the Sayoc Kali registered trademark, denied any association with Cesar Sayoc, Jr. “We can clearly and definitively state that Cesar Sayoc Jr. has no affiliation with Sayoc Kali. None of the authorized Sayoc Kali instructors have any record of having offered him instruction or are aware of ever having interacted with him.”
Sayoc’s LinkedIn profile also said that he was a “Promoter, booking agent live entertainment, owner, choreographer.” But a cousin, who declined to be identified, told the NBC News that Sayoc worked as a dancer and bouncer at strip clubs at various cities around the country. He said that Sayoc was a “lost soul” whose brain was affected from taking steroids,” he said.
Lawyer Ronald Lowy, who currently represents Sayoc’s mother, described Sayoc as a “sick individual” who seemed “lost” and needed help. “I believe he has issues comprehending concepts,” he said. “He is like a little boy in a man’s body.”
Interestingly, a sticker on Sayoc’s van reads “Native Americans For Trump” and his Twitter feed includes several references to the Seminole tribe. Of interest is Florida corporation records showing that Sayoc had two registered businesses: Native American Catering & Vending and VER TECH AG. Despite the posts he wrote on social media of his affinity to the Seminole tribe, Seminole spokesman Gary Bitner said there were no records of Sayoc having been a member of the tribe.
“We find no evidence that Cesar Sayoc is or was a member or employee of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, or is or was an employee of Seminole Gaming or Hard Rock International. At this time, we cannot verify if he is or was an employee of a vendor company.”
Why then did Sayoc feel an affinity towards the Seminole tribe? Could it be that his mother has part Seminole in her lineage? Was it an attempt to deny his Filipino roots? There is one viable explanation: Growing up in Florida, where the Seminole tribe was one of the biggest native American tribes, Sayoc might have bonded well with the Seminoles. It could also have been born out of persecution complex where he sees himself and the Seminoles discriminated and unfairly treated by whites. So, in spite of his Filipino roots, Sayoc didn’t see himself as a Filipino. He felt more at ease as a Seminole.
Sayoc found his father figure
When Trump launched his presidential campaign in June 2015, Sayoc found in him the father figure he had been searching for. He thought they had so many things in common; that his political belief dovetails with Trump’s.
According to Miami lawyer Ronald Lowy, who had represented Sayoc in past cases, Sayoc was “attracted to Trump’s messaging, which included reaching out to ‘outsiders’ and ‘people who are angry at America.” He finally found an “identity” that parallels Trump’s. Sayoc saw in Trump a hero to emulate. Indeed, Trump must have filled the empty vacuum in Sayoc’s troubled psyche, an emptiness created when Cesar Sayoc, Sr. was detached from Sayoc’s life.
In March 2016, Sayoc registered Republican. He opened Facebook, LinkedIn, and several Twitter accounts where he could express his pro-Trump, pro-Republican, and anti-Democrat sentiments.
When the 2018 midterm election campaign season began, Sayoc followed Trump to campaign rallies proudly wearing his “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) hat. He used his van to promote Trump’s campaign message. He painted the van’s windows with collages of pro-Trump and anti-Democrat images. He became a political billboard on wheels for the world to see what the Trump campaign was all about.
Bigotry and criminal history
Sayoc has a long criminal history that dates back to 1991 when he was charged with third-degree grand theft. He pleaded guilty that same year and was sentenced to two years of probation. His long rap sheet includes the following:
In 1994, Sayoc’s grandmother, Viola Altieri, filed a domestic violence injunction against him. However, it was later dismissed at her request.
In 2002, he was arrested for making a bomb threat in Dade County, Florida. The Miami police alleged Sayoc threatened to bomb the Florida Power and Light Co.
In 2004, he was arrested on multiple charges including fraud and drug possession.
In 2009, Sayoc was charged for driving without a valid license, not having insurance and not having a tag light.
In 2014, he pleaded “no contest” to charges of third-degree grand theft.
In 2015, during a reunion with his college soccer team, he browbeat former teammates with racist, sexist conspiracy theories.
In 2017, he went on racist, antigay tirades at the Fort Lauderdale pizza shop where he worked as a night-shift deliveryman, telling his manager Debra Gureghian that she and other gay people along with Democrats should all be put onto an island and then “nuked.”
Gureghian described him as “crazed.” “There was something really off with him,” she told Washington Post. “He was very angry and angry at the world, at blacks, Jews, gays. He never said he would kill them or murder them or bomb them, he just said, ‘If I had complete autonomy, the gays, the blacks and Jews would not survive.’ He was very, very strange.”
There were other charges against him over time. But the worst – and biggest – crime he allegedly committed was in October 2018, which involved mailing 14 pipe bombs to Democratic figures including former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Joe Biden, several Democratic political leaders, billionaire Democratic mega-donor George Soros, actor Robert de Niro, and billionaire Tom Steyer, the person behind the “Impeach Trump” movement.
He was arrested on October 26, 2018. What led to his arrest was his fingerprint found on a package addressed to Rep. Maxine Waters. The FBI also matched a DNA found in one of the packages to his DNA taken by the Miami police some years back. He faces five felony charges. If convicted, he could spend 58 years in prison.
Even though none of the pipe bombs had detonated and killed people, Trump had admitted that the case of Sayoc had hurt the Republican candidates and slowed down the campaign momentum.
Many Americans believe that Trump’s negative campaign rhetoric and hateful personal attacks against Democratic candidates and the media was the reason for firing up the MAGA Bomber to go on the rampage. Indeed, one can say that hatred begets hatred. ━ (PerryDiaz@gmail.com)