Kin of robbed, murdered call center agent seek help, justice
MANILA — “Please take care of yourself, mother. Please make sure you and papa are safe because I am far away. Don’t worry, I will send you money on Friday. Wait for me. Take care.”
This was the last conversation Ma. Erlinda Gonzales had with her 24-year-old daughter Eleanor Gonzales, a call center agent, when they talked over the phone last January 31.
Eleanor Gonzales, a breadwinner and a qualitative assurance analyst in a Makati-based call center company, died on Friday afternoon (Feb. 3), fighting for her life at the Mandaluyong City Medical Center. She was robbed and shot earlier on the same day, along the Guadalupe Bridge that straddled Makati City and Mandaluyong City.
“I was waiting for her last Friday, but she never called back,” Ma. Erlinda told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a telephone interview on Wednesday (Feb. 8).
The elder Gonzales is still in Zamboanga City and could not go to Manila to see Eleanor. Gonzales’ father, who used to be a driver in Manila, is incapacitated after an accident.
Gonzales was rushed by concerned citizens to the hospital after a still unidentified man shot her in the forehead around 4:50 a.m., on Friday (Feb. 3), near the stoplight along Guadalupe bridge at Edsa northbound lane in Barangay Ilaya.
She was on her way to work.
Gonzales’ body is currently at the Funeraria Quiogue as her family has been trying to raise funds to bring her body back to their hometown in Gusiao, Zamboanga City.
Senior Insp. Jose Villarta, Mandaluyong Police Criminal Investigation chief, said initial investigation pointed to Gonzales resisting the robber who was able to snatch her bag and and other valuables. They found a bag strap near the crime scene.
Villarta said the closed circuit television footage failed to capture the attack, robbery and shooting. The robber-killer remained unidentified as of Wednesday (Feb. 8), he added.
Gonzales’ roommate reported Eleanor missing two days after the victim left their apartment at Barangay Southside, Makati, for work at around 4 a.m. last Friday (Feb. 3).
Her mother, Ma. Erlinda, said Gonzales must have instinctively protected the bag carrying a borrowed mobile phone at that time. “She had no cell phone of her own. Her old phone was not working,” Ma. Erlinda said.
“Eleanor was a very kind daughter. She never answers back. She had big dreams for us. She wanted to save up to give us a house, and send her youngest sibling to school,” her mother told the Inquirer.
“Her work started at 7 a.m., but she reported for work at around 5 a.m. to earn more and send more money home,” she added.
Ma. Erlinda has admitted needing financial aid for the funeral of Eleanor. Her remains are expected to be brought to Zamboanga City on Thursday (Feb. 9), according to Ma. Erlinda.
Eleanor’s officemates, Elena Santos and two others who went to see her at the funeral parlor, said Gonzales had been working for their company for three years now and was a cheerful, lively woman.
Santos expressed her grief over the loss of Eleanor in such circumstances and appealed to the government to increase police visibility in the poorly lighted and ‘crime-prone’ area at the Guadalupe bridge.
“Last December, there were policemen at the area; now, it’s unsafe. The fence they put there does not help. Hope they can look at this area, especially for us call center agents who travel before dawn,” Santos said.
Those who want to send assistance to the Gonzales family may call 09972786615. SFM