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‘I just wanted my wife back’

05:26 PM April 17, 2013

The former mayor of Placer, Surigao del Norte will be included in the investigation into the murder of his estranged wife in Pier 3, Cebu City last Monday morning.

Senior Supt. Mariano Natu-el, Cebu City police chief, said they are waiting for former Placer mayor Chary T. Mangacop’s arrival to Cebu City after he voiced willingness to cooperate with police in the inquiry.

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“Yes,…we will get the side of Mangacop. All people involved with Clarita Lauro are considered suspects in the case,” Natuel said.

Mangacop said he wasn’t angry at Lauro and even wanted her to reconcile with him.

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Lauro was the live-in partner of Mayor Herminigildo Betonio III of Pio V. Cruz, Masbate province.

Natu-el said investigators talked to Betonio, who arrived in Cebu to bring Lauro’s remains back to his town yesterday evening.

In a TV interview, Betonio said Lauro and Mangacop, a Muslim, were divorced after they secured an annulment before the Office of Muslim Affairs. Mangacop said Lauro was his second wife.

“It cannot happen that I would do those things. You know, I love her, why would I continue to find her until now? Second, I’m also finding our children,” Mangacop said in Filipino.

Mangacop said he was just shocked when his wife and their four children aged 15, 14, 12 and six years old were gone along with their four vehicles and other belongings from their house in Manila.

Mangacop said he wasn’t always in the house because of their business.

He said he entrusted to Lauro their other businesses in Manila including the rentals of their commercial buildings.

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The revenue from the rentals which Mangacop was unable to specify was also brought by Lauro when she left.

Mangacop said he had no quarrel with her and he didn’t know why Lauro suddenly left her.

He added that their marriage remains valid and they are not officially separated. Mangacop showed hatred against Betonio.

“Inagaw niya asawa ko, inagaw niya mga anak ko, pati mga sasakyan ko (He stole my wife, he stole my children, even my vehicles),” he said.

Mangacop said he wanted to go to Cebu to claim his wife’s remains only to learn that Mayor Betonio hired a private boat to bring Lauro’s remains to Masbate. But Mangacop said he will still go to Cebu to clarify everything.

Natu-el said Betonio, who was estranged from his first wife now living in the US, shared to them information concerning Mangacop and Lauro.

He said they are also not ruling out political vendetta as a motive in Lauro’s murder.

Lauro was on board a taxi with Pio V. Cruz Councilor Leny Betonio Eser.

Eser was shot in her right hand by a motorcycle backrider in Lauro’s house in barangay Pooc, Talisay City.

“What’s important now is for the police to identify and arrest the perpetrators if only to give justice to Lauro and her children,” Betonio said in a TV interview. With Correspondent Chito Aragon

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