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3 suspects in transgender’s rape-slay charged

Neil Jayson Servallos - The Philippine Star
3 suspects in transgenderâs rape-slay charged
Rape-slay suspects Zander de la Cruz, Joel Loyola and Richard Araza are escorted by lawmen at the Quezon City Police District headquarters at Camp Karingal yesterday.
Michael Varcas, file

MANILA, Philippines — Charges of robbery and rape with homicide have been filed against three suspects in the murder of a transgender man in Quezon City, including the victim’s childhood friend who confessed to the crime, police said.

Zander de la Cruz, 22; Joel Loyola, 30, and Richard Araza, 34, were charged before the city prosecutor’s office for the death of Norriebi Tria, also known as Ebeng Mayor, according to Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar.

Loyola is facing a separate complaint for illegal possession of firearms.

Maj. Elmer Monsalve, chief of the Quezon City Police District criminal investigation unit, said probers found out that Tria was with the suspects in the early morning of May 18.

“When they were on their way home, Loyola punched the victim in the gut and lost consciousness. Tria was dragged to the crime scene and was molested,” Monsalve said at a press briefing.

Police said Tria’s head was hit with a rock by the suspects.

“But they were not satisfied. They forced a stick into the victim’s private parts,” Monsalve said.

Belmonte condemns crime

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte condemned the suspects’ act, calling it a hate crime.

“This type of violence has no space in a civilized society where everyone is treated equally and with utmost respect. I hope that those behind this will be punished to the full extent of the law and rot in jail,” Belmonte said in a statement.

She assured Tria’s family that the local government is ready to provide any assistance they need.

Belmonte said the local government remains committed to protecting members of the LGBTQ community from violence and abuse.

Quezon City was one of the first local government units to pass and implement an ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression or SOGIE.

“We encourage members of the LGBTQ sector who are experiencing violence and harassment to report to Hotline 122 for immediate action or seek refuge in our protection center and Bahay Kanlungan shelter if the need arises,” Belmonte said.

Aside from hate crime, Eleazar said the PNP is also looking into several angles, including illegal drugs.

Police said De la Cruz and Loyola were previously jailed on drug charges.

MURDER RAPE ROBBERY
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