Love triangle eyed in slay
CITY OF MALOLOS—Police on Friday identified a suspect who may have ordered the killing of a 23-year-old beauty pageant winner in Plaridel town in Bulacan province on Wednesday.
Mary Christine Balagtas was shot in the head by two men who delivered a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates to her house at 9:10 a.m. Wednesday. Police believed they were hired assassins.
Supt. Julio Lizardo, Plaridel police chief, said they would file charges against the mastermind after the burial of Balagtas, who won the title of “Miss La Bulakenya” in a 2009 pageant.
Lizardo, however, declined to name the suspect, but said the murder may have been triggered by a “love triangle.”
“We will charge the suspect whom [Balagtas’] mother had identified. She may have more to reveal, it’s up to her. But as of today (Friday), we already have the name [of the person suspected of having Balagtas killed],” he said.
Earlier, Lizardo said one of the leads provided to investigators involved someone with whom Balagtas had a romantic relationship.
Members of the Balagtas family declined requests for interview and asked reporters to respect their privacy.
Lizardo said the family also asked the police to proceed with the filing of charges after Balagtas’ funeral. Burial details have yet to be released, but the family has been holding the wake in their house in Plaridel.
Balagtas was a graduate of a hotel and restaurant management course at the University of Regina Carmeli, now La Consolacion University of the Philippines, in 2013, according to Herlie Rozelle Flores Vecina, one of her classmates.
Balagtas’ friends, through social media, aired their calls for justice and the speedy resolution of the case.
On Facebook, Vecina wrote: “Shout out for justice [for Balagtas]! #Pray for Christine. #Justice for Christine.” —CARMELA REYES-ESTROPE