2 missing men in Laguna found dead in Pampanga
ANGELES CITY—As dusk fell on Sept. 19, Ephraim Escudero, a cellphone repair technician, gave Ronnie Pionilla and another hitchhiker a ride on his motorcycle in San Pedro City, Laguna province.
That was the last time Escudero and his two passengers were seen. Two days later, Escudero, 18, and Pionilla, 52, were found dead here and in nearby Porac town in Pampanga province.
The whereabouts of the third man were not known.
Using tabloid stories on missing persons and dumped corpses as leads, the parents of Escudero ended their five-day search for him at a funeral parlor here on Sept. 24.
They identified their son through a “Thug Life” tattoo on his left arm and the clothes he was last seen wearing, according to the victim’s sister Sheerah.
The family wondered why Escudero was in Angeles when he had no relatives or friends in the city, which is about three to four hours’ drive from San Pedro.
CCTV footage showed Escudero cruising along Rizal and Mabini streets in San Pedro on his motorcycle about 6 p.m. on Sept. 19. On Mabini Street, two men hitched a ride, one of them later identified as Pionilla.
Sheerah said her family did not know Pionilla or the other passenger. Pionilla was found dead in Barangay Cangatba in Porac, just outside Angeles City.
Escudero’s body was seen in a dark section of Oregon Street in Barangay Anunas in Angeles about 1:15 a.m. on Sept. 21, according to Supt. Nixon Cayaban, the city’s police chief.
Located at the perimeter of Clark Freeport, Anunas hosts several Korean establishments.
Police photographs show Escudero’s head and face wrapped in packaging tape, with blood trickling down his head from two bullet wounds. His wrists and ankles were tied behind his back using the same material.
Signs of torture
Pionilla’s body reportedly bore signs of torture. His captors removed his teeth, slashed his neck, and filled his stomach and fingertips with tiny bits of glass. His head bore a fist-sized hole from gunshots.
Cayaban said a witness reported hearing two gunshots and seeing a white van with no license plates speed away from the area where Escudero’s body was found.
No criminal record
Sheerah said her brother had no criminal record and worked as a cell phone repair technician in the family-owned shop.
“Why was he killed as if he was a criminal? He’s a kind father to his two kids. Why was he denied the right to make his dreams come true? We don’t see any reason why he should be killed,” Sheerah said.
“We are seeking justice for him. If we don’t speak up, the killings of innocent people would go on,” she added.
Escudero’s motorcycle and two telephones have not been recovered.