Village chief, widow dead in ‘crime of passion’



CEBU CITY, Philippines—An affair between a village chief and a widow ended on Thursday in what the police described as a “crime of passion.”

Rey Oybenes, chief of Barangay Mabini here, killed Rohama Luague, a city employee, on Thursday and dumped her body on the edge of a cliff in Balamban town before killing himself inside a government vehicle, police said.

The body of Luague, 32, a widow with three young children, was found with a gunshot wound in the chest at 1:10 p.m. Thursday on the edge of a cliff near the Transcentral Highway, which connects Cebu City and western coast of the province.

A tree stopped her body from falling off the cliff in Sitio Boli, Barangay Cansumoroy, Balamban, about 64 kilometers west of Cebu City.

Witnesses saw a man, who turned out to be Oybenes, dragging a body, which turned out to be that of Luague, from a gray Toyota Hilux without a license plate. Oybenes dumped the body on the edge of the cliff.

About two hours later, a street cleaner found Oybenes’ body inside the pickup, which is among the vehicles distributed by Mayor Michael Rama to village chiefs in 2012.

Police said Oybenes removed government markings from the pickup and its red license plate.

Found inside the vehicle were a .45-cal. pistol, two loaded magazines, a loose bullet, P48,000 in cash,  jewelry, ID cards of Luague, a woman’s underwear and the original license plate of the pickup—SKV 566.

Two police officers—Senior Supt. Mariano Natuel, acting Cebu City police chief, and SPO3 Arvie Ricardo Banate, Balamban police investigator—said Oybenes committed suicide after killing Luague and dumping her body.

Police said the two had a five-year relationship. Luague was the widow of PO1 Noriel Luague who was killed in a police operation in December 2007.

Luague ended the relationship in January but Oybenes hung on. Luague had confided to colleagues at work in city hall that Oybenes had been sending threats through text messages.

A source close to Luague, but who refused to be identified, said friends had advised Luague to report the threats to the police but she refused.

With a report from Doris C. Bongcac, Inquirer Visayas

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