On September 10, 2016, at around 1:55am, witnesses said they saw a silver Toyota Fortuner come to a complete stop in a sidewalk along Temple Drive in Barangay Ugong Norte, Quezon City. Afterwards, they heard multiple gunshots. Then the vehicle sped away in the direction of White Plains Subdivision.
In a matter of split seconds, they saw the lifeless body of a woman by the road with blood stains near her chest. The policemen who immediately responded in the area found an ID card near the corpse — she was Aurora Ma. F. Moynihan, 45 years old.
Most headlines focused on the fact that she is the sister of actress Maritoni Fernandez. But what’s bothering is that it was yet again another cold blooded murder done under cover of night. The suspects left a cardboard with a cryptic message — DRUG PUSHER ng mga Celebrities KASUNOD na KAYO! (Drug pushers of celebrities, you’re next).
If anything, the cardboard didn’t convince the Quezon City Police District who is investigating the incident with the coordination of the family.
This is a new development in the administration’s war against drugs and how it will take the fight to those with links to celebrities. Just a few days ago, news outlets reported the arrest of Lea Salonga’s half brother and two other people in buy bust operations. They must face due process in their bid to clear their names.
This pursuit to cleanse the country of illegal drugs, especially its high-profile perpetrators, is a necessary campaign according to President Duterte. The administration strongly believes we are in a state of lawless violence. But can we immediately conclude that all summary killings are really connected to this crusade against drugs? For this particular case, the spot report also mentioned the recovery of five cartridges of caliber 40 bullets and four heat-sealed packets of suspected shabu. But what if it was planted? Is a cardboard enough evidence to justify a cold blooded murder? This is not even a police operation! The suspects are men with no names whose motives are unknown.
During the past few weeks, we have covered various extra-judicial killings; it’s almost on a daily basis now. Yesterday, our news team covered four such cases in the same neighborhood in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan. Some may ask why I chose to write about this particular story. Is it because they are from a well-off family? Is it because Moynihan is a British national who is the daughter of a baron? That is not so. This is the first time I covered a victim that is a woman, a mother of two. It seems to me it can happen to anyone. It can happen to me. It can happen to you. Encounter someone with guns, goons, golden bank accounts and grudges against you — and you will probably meet the same fate.
Worse, all it takes is for the suspects to put a cardboard in your corpse accusing you of crimes that you can’t defend yourself from and destroying the reputation you have carefully protected throughout the years in just an instant. Some supporters of the drug war — who probably have no time to inspect the details of each case — will just conclude that you likely deserved it. Likely.
There lies a very significant problem. Dead people have no chance to answer all the accusations against them.
Over at Reddit Philippines, there is a thread discussing the case of Moynihan. The following thoughts do not necessarily reflect mine but they are written by a Redditor who once knew the victim and is mourning:
“She’d partied in her youth but had been sober for years. Yet somehow she either wound up on someone’s hit list, or someone with a grudge killed her for personal reasons, knowing that so long as they tied a sign around her neck, there’d be no investigation.
She wasn’t “in the wrong place at the wrong time.” She wasn’t shot while firing on cops (the police weren’t involved at all). This wasn’t a sting gone bad. It was cold-blooded murder. And now her son, whose father died in an accident years ago, will grow up an orphan.
This is the world we live in now. This is what Duterte’s mad crusade has wrought. Whether or not they have ever dealt with drugs in their lives, no one is safe; not so long as there is even one person out there who would like to see them dead. Thanks to the new normal, any asshole with a gun, a piece of cardboard, and a marker has all they need to murder whomever they want.
May god help us all.”
To advocate fairness, we also received this information from the NCRPO through spokesperson Kimberly Molitas:
“Re death of AURORA MOYNIHAN, sister of actress MARITONI FERNANDEZ, for info, she was arrested by Taguig SAID on Feb 28, 2013 in Sta Ana, Taguig City together w/ other drug personalities of Taguig namely: Joana Tinga, Henry Tinga, Crayon Ong, all 8 of them. Moynihan was able to post bail but the Tinga group is still in jail up to now. Recovered from them were shabu, marijuana & ecstasy. Cases of Sec 5 (pushing), Sec 12 (paraphernalias), & Sec 15 (drug den) were filed against them.”
But according to the QCPD, Moynihan wasn’t in their drug warchlist.
[Entry 170, The SubSelfie Blog]
About the Author:
Bam Alegre is the founder of SubSelfie.com and writes from time to time as a guest contributor. He is a News Reporter for GMA News (2012) and a Special Lecturer for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of the East (2015). He was also part of the team that won GMA News the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for the news coverage of super typhoon Yolanda (2013). Previously, he worked behind the scenes as a Segment Producer for State of the Nation with Jessica Soho and 24 Oras (2009-2012). He is also the vocalist, pianist and guitarist of the band No Parking (2005). BA Broadcast Communication 2007, UP Diliman. Read more of his articles here.