3 suspects in ‘brutal’ slay of transgender in QC nabbed

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

May 23, 2021, 2:42 pm

MANILA – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar on Sunday announced the arrest of three suspects behind the “brutal” killing of a transgender man Ebeng Mayor in Quezon City.

In a press conference at Quezon City Police District (QCPD) Hinirang Social Hall, Camp Tomas B. Karingal in Sikatuna Village, Eleazar identified the suspects as Zander Gal Dela Cruz, Joel Loyola, and Richard Elvin Araza.

The suspects were charged with rape with homicide and robbery before the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office on Saturday.

An additional complaint of violation of Republic Act 10591 (or Illegal Possession of Firearms and Ammunition) was filed against suspect Loyola.

“I am happy to announce that we have arrested and formally charged in the Prosecutor’s Office three suspects in the brutal killing of 21-year-old trans man Mayor. The PNP has kept its promise to Ebeng’s family and solved this atrocious crime,” Eleazar said.

He also commended Brig. Gen. Antonio Yarra, District Director of QCPD and investigators from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (CIDU) for excellent police work and skillful sleuthing that resulted in the solution of Mayor’s killing in just 48 hours.

Mayor’s body was found at Sitio Bakal, Barangay Bagong Silangan in Quezon City three days after he went missing.

Authorities are still awaiting results of medical tests and autopsy conducted by the PNP Crime Laboratory on the body to confirm allegations that Mayor was sexually abused.

There were initial indications, however, that Mayor was brutally killed and that the crime was committed by at least two suspects.

Two hours after Mayor’s body was discovered, the QCPD-CIDU already had a lead, the uneasiness and discomfort displayed by one of the victim’s childhood friends who later confessed to the crime and named his cohorts.

The QCPD then made quick work of rounding up all three suspects.

“To the family of Ebeng, I know that we cannot bring her back but with the PNP’s kept promise of bringing their killers to justice, we hope that this somehow lessens the pain of your loss,” Eleazar said.

Senseless killing

Mayor Joy Belmonte strongly denounced the senseless and barbaric act against Mayor on account of her sexual orientation and gender identity.

“This type of violence has no space in a civilized society where everyone is treated equally and with the utmost respect. I hope that those behind this will be punished to the full extent of the law and rot in jail,” Belmonte said in a news release on Sunday.

She lauded the QCPD for its swift action in arresting the three suspects behind the death of Mayor, also known as Norriebi Tria.

“As I express my heartfelt condolences to the family and loved ones of Ebeng Mayor, I also want to assure them that we won’t leave no stone unturned until justice is served for the death of their loved one,” Belmonte said.

She assured that despite this unfortunate incident, members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community have nothing to worry about as Quezon City remains a safe space for them.

The city is among the first to pass and implement a Gender Fair Ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression (SOGIE) and protects LGBT rights.

Belmonte encouraged members of the LGBT sector who are experiencing violence and harassment to report via Hotline 122 for immediate action or seek temporary refuge in our QC Protection Center if the need arises. (PNA)