FORMER FISCAL KILLED AT HOME

06/28/2010 - Text messages and phone calls had been left unanswered since Friday.

Anxious of what might have happened, relatives of former Regional State Prosecutor (RSP) Hernando Masangkay rushed to his home in Talisay City in southern Cebu.

They were shocked with what they found: the lifeless body of Masangkay who suffered a stab wound on the right portion of his neck.

The police didn't find any sign of forced entry in the house, prompting the police to suspect that the perpetrator may be someone whom the former state prosecutor knew.

“Murag kaila gyud niya (Masangkay). Wala pa tay motive sa pagkakaron kay ongoing ang investigation (I think Masangkay knew the killer. We could not establish the motive yet since the investigation was still on going),” said PO3 Mikey Espina, Talisay police homicide investigator.

The police have yet to determine the identity of the perpetrator/s and why the 72-year-old regional state prosecutor, who retired in 2004, was killed. But robbery was ruled out as a motive since the victim's personal belongings like the P3,700 cash and dollar bills inside his wallet were not taken by the killer/s.

Investigators said Masangkay may have been dead for more than 24 hours because the body has already started to decompose when discovered.

Masangkay, a native of Surigao del Sur, did not have any companion inside the house. His wife had died while his three children worked outside Cebu. His eldest son was found dead in Pasig River in Metro Manila in the 1980s.

Masangkay, 72, was last seen by his neighbors on Friday afternoon, cleaning his red Nissan car which was parked outside his residence at Camella Homes in barangay Lawaan I, Talisay City.

His daughter Niña, who is based in Dubai, began to wonder when her father failed to greet her on her birthday last Saturday. Son Reggie, who is working in Ormoc City, Leyte, started to worry when text messages and calls made to landline and cellular phones were not answered.

He decided to ask his relative, Karl Stephen Montenegro to check on his father.

“Wala na man gud siya motubag ug mga tawag sa cellphone ug sa landline, unya di na sad moreply sa text. Mao nga gisugo ko ni Reggie pag-anhi sa iyang balay. (Masangkay had not been answering calls made to his cellular phone and landline. He didn't also reply to the text message. That's why Reggie asked me to go to the house and check on him),” said Montenegro.

When he arrived at Masangkay's residence yesterday morning, Montenegro noted that the main door was left ajar.

He noticed the foul odor and some flies hovering outside. When he went inside the house, he said he saw that the door of Masangkay's room was slightly open.

Montenegro called up Jeffrey Joven, the victim's close friend. When Joven arrived, both of them went inside the room about 11:30 a.m.

They found Masangkay's lifeless body lying on top of the bed. Blood had dried up around Masangkay's neck. Three pillows were placed on his head as if to muffle any cries for help.

The victim was in his undershirt and underwear. They called the police.

Homicide investigators combed the house but failed to find the weapon used in killing Masangkay. His body was brought to the Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes in barangay Lahug, Cebu City for an autopsy.

Reggie arrived from Ormoc yesterday afternoon. He refused to talk to reporters.

Cebu City Assistant Prosecutor Mary Ann Castro, Masangkay's friend, said the killing might have something to do with a dispute between the victim and a neighbor.

“Most probably, naa ra sa neighbor ang suspect kay I know naa man silay case. (Most probably, the suspect is just in the neighborhood because I know of a case which involves Masangkay and his neighbor),” said Castro, whose house is just a few meters from Masangkay's, was among those who rushed to the victim's house yesterday afternoon.

She said she was willing to cooperate with police to identify the perpetrator/s.

Police ruled out robbery as a motive behind Masangkay's death since his personal belongings were all intact.

Espina said Masangkay might have been killed while sleeping since they did not notice any signs of struggle on the part of the victim.

But investigators were looking for Masangkay's driver who was only identified as Daryl. Based on the cellular phone recovered from the victim, Espina said the driver had communicated with Masangkay before the victim was killed.

Fiscal Castro urged authorities to immediately identify the perpetrators so justice can be served for her friend.

“Nashock gyud ko kay naa gyud mi pinagsamahan. Kinahanglan maserve gyud ang justice. Ipadali gyud ang investigation. (I was shocked when I heard about Masangkay's death since both of us had gone a long way together. Justice should be served. Investigation should be sped up),” Castro said.

She recalled that Masangkay recommended her appointment at the Cebu City Prosecutor's Office 11 years ago. She also stood as principal sponsor to the wedding of Masangkay's daughter.

Castro said she knew of a dispute between Masangkay and a neighbor.

Masangkay, she added, filed against his neighbor for throwing some trash to Masangkay's one-story home. A small balcony was constructed at the left side oh his house.

RSP Fernando Gubalane condemned Masangkay's death and urged the authorities to identify and arrest the perpetrators.

“We would just let policemen resolve the case because that's their work,” Gubalane said. The RSP is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Masangkay was assistant prosecutor in Quezon City before he was appointed RSP for Central Visayas in 1998.

He retired as RSP in 2004 and ran for congressman of Surigao del Sur in the elections that year. He lost the congressional race.

Masangkay has four children. His eldest son, Irwin, was killed in the 1980s. His body was dumped at the Pasig River. Relatives believed Irwin's death may have something to do with Masangkay's job as an then assistant prosecutor of Quezon City.

His other children—Karlo, Reggie, and Nina—are living outside Cebu. Karlo is based in Manila while Reggie works in Ormoc City. Niña works in Dubai. Masangkay’s wife had died several years ago. (Cebu Daily News)

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