MANILA (UPDATE) - The rape-slay of a transgender man in Quezon City has been "solved," authorities said Sunday.
The body of Norriebi Tria also known as Ebeng Mayor, was found in Quezon City 3 days after he went missing, the Philippine National Police said Saturday.
A childhood friend of the victim identified as Zander dela Cruz, 22, confessed to the crime and named 2 other suspects, Mayor Joy Belmonte said, citing reports from the QCPD.
The two others arrested were identified as Joel "Nonoy" Loyola, 30, and Richard Elvin Araza, 34, PNP chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said as he announced the case closed in a press briefing. The PNP is also considering hate crime in its investigation, he said.
"Not only LGBTQ community condemn this, lahat tayo condemn this [krimen] (we all condemn this crime)," Eleazar said.
The suspects will face charges of rape with homicide and robbery. The PNP is also awaiting the results of the suspects' drug tests as Dela Cruz said they all used illegal drugs, Eleazar added.
The two other suspects suddenly punched the victim in the stomach, according to Dela Cruz.
"Tinakot lang ako ni Nonoy. Tinutukan ako ng bente dos. Inutusan po ako ni Nonoy na hampasin ko daw ng bato, dalawang beses po hinampas ko kasi tinakot niya ako. Para daw pag nahuli, sama sama daw kami," he said.
(Nonoy scared me. He pointed a 22 caliber pistol at me. He ordered me to hit him with a rock, I hit the victim twice because he scared me. He said so that if we get caught, we'll be arrested together.)
"Nakonsenya po ako kaya ako umamin. Sana po mapatawad niyo ako, nagsisi ako sa ginawa ko. Dala lang po ng takot kay Nonoy kaya ako nadamay."
(I felt guilty, that's why I confessed. I hope I can be forgiven. I was just scared of Nonoy.)
The victims' parents said they were happy that justice was achieved for their child.
"Masaya dahil nabigyan na ng hustisya ang pagkamatay ng anak ko. Kasi kung nasa laya pa mga yan, di kami matatahimk," the victim's father said.
(We're happy because justice was served over our child's death. If the suspects were still at large, we won't have peace of mind.)
"Hindi namin aakalain, kasi best friend talaga sila. Hindi namin alam na ganoon pala," their mother said.
(We did not expect that their best friend would be involved. We did not know.)
The victim’s cellphone was recovered from the suspect, according to police.
“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 any stone unturned until justice is served for the death of their loved one," Belmonte said.
“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."
LGBT members in the city, among the first to pass and implement a Gender Fair Ordinance, are urged to report violence and harassment to hotline 122 or seek refuge in its QC Protection Center and Bahay Kanlungan temporary shelter, Belmonte added.
The Commission on Human Rights noted that the death of Tria happened on the same week that the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) was being celebrated.
Jacqueline Ann de Guia, CHR spokesperson, said Saturday that the body will conduct an independent investigation on the incident and will "work closely with the authorities in pursuing justice for Ebeng and their family."
"The Commission on Human Rights (CHR), as the country’s Gender Ombud, denounces all forms of gender-based violence directed towards transgender and gender non-conforming people," de Guia said.
"The long-held stigma and discrimination against them in our culture deny transgender people the opportunity to live freely, to enjoy equal protection under the law, and to be recognized as full members of our society," she added.
--Report from Jekki Pascual, ABS-CBN News
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