Family of slain Cagayan mayor appeals for ‘faster’ justice

Raymon Dullana
Family of slain Cagayan mayor appeals for ‘faster’ justice
The family of Gonzaga Mayor Carlito Pentecostes Jr asks Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to help solve his murder, which they believe was perpetrated by a local politician

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines – A year ago, on April 21, Mayor Carlito Pentecostes Jr of Gonzaga town in Cagayan was killed during a flag ceremony, in front of about 100 people.

Since that day when some 50 men dressed in military uniform took his life, Pentecostes has yet to get justice. His family is asking Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to help them get it “faster.”

“It has been a year now that has passed since the death of our beloved brother Carlito Jr, and with previous local investigation efforts, we see no results,” Agnes Pentecostes-Francisco said in a letter to De Lima.

“We hope and pray that you could help us do a more honest and determined investigation that will bring these perpetrators to justice,” the sister of the late mayor said. 

Rebels have owned up to the killing of Pentecostes, but his family doubted they were the ones who did it. They believe – and it is widely believed in Gonzaga town – that a “big” politician was behind the killing.

In an interview, she said that before her brother was killed, a politician “known” in the province and in the national scene confronted him about his plans of seeking a higher elective position in the province. The politician also disliked that Pentecostes attended a meeting organized by the politician’s rival.

“Sa pagpatay nila sa kapatid ko, parang sinasabi nila na hindi siya ang hari ng Gonzaga,” she said. (By killing our brother, they sent a message that they were the lords of of Gonzaga, not my brother.)

“We all know that the killing of our brother was the act of a powerful individual, a person who is corrupt, greedy, despicable, and who does not value life,” Francisco said.

Francisco said that though her brother allowed mining operations happen in their town, he left a legacy in the hearts and minds of the people of Gonzaga through his “successful” projects.

His death in the hands of enemies was a “theft of our town’s chance at progress,” she said.

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