CEBU CITY, Philippines—Police are looking into several angles in the killing of the live-in partner of Mayor Herminigildo Betonio III of Pio V. Corpus town, Masbate and the wounding of his sister shortly after their arrival in Cebu Monday morning.
Senior Superintendent Mariano Natuel, Cebu City police chief, said the ambush of Crisanta Lauro and Councilor Lany Betonio-Eser could be linked to politics.
But he said police are also studying personal motives since Lauro was still married to Chary Mangacop, former mayor of Placer in Surigao del Norte, when she lived in with Betonio.
Lauro and Mangacop have four children, who are with Betonio.
Police also are looking at a business angle after Mangacop said Lauro owed some people money.
Lauro and Eser boarded a boat in Masbate and arrived in Cebu City past 5 a.m. on Monday. They took a taxi from the city port for Talisay City, where Lauro and Betonio own a house.
The women were attacked by motorcycle-riding men when their cab stopped on a red light at the corner of V. Sotto corner and S. Osmeña streets.
Lauro was shot in the head and left chest while Eser was wounded in the hand. Lauro’s remains were returned to Masbate early Tuesday.
Betonio, in a phone interview, said that his opponents knew Lauro to be his campaign financier. He said Lauro had been receiving threats.
“If someone like me, who is in a position of power, cannot have justice, how much more ordinary persons?” said Betonio, an ally of Masbate Representative Antonio Kho and running for his first full term as mayor.
Betonio succeeded Diomedes Amaroto Sr., who resigned as mayor in 2011 for health reasons.
Mangacop, on the other hand, went to Cebu on Wednesday to air his side after police raised the possibility that he may have had a hand in the killing. He said he could not kill his wife because he loved her even if she had left him for another man.
He said he was just surprised to find his wife, their four children and three luxury vehicles gone when he went to their home in San Pablo, Laguna on December 12, 2012. He said he didn’t know that Lauro had lived in with Betonio until he was told about her death last Monday.
Natuel said police would look into Mangacop’s information that his wife had incurred debts.