Parents seek justice for daughter killed in 'narco lawyer' ambush

THE parents of the high school student who was killed when gunmen ambushed the lawyer of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa has asked the government to give justice to their daughter’s death.

Angelika Bonita, 17, was with lawyer Rogelio Bato Jr., onboard his Toyota Hilux pickup car, when unidentified gunmen fired at them Tuesday afternoon in a village near Robinsons Place Tacloban.

Bato is also the lawyer of Mayor Espinosa's son, Kerwin, the alleged top drug lord in Eastern Visayas.

The Philippine National Police confirmed that Bato is on its drugs watch list.

The lawyer and the Grade 9 student sustained multiple gunshots in their body and faces from caliber 45 and M16 rifle.

Couple Joel and Jennifer, parents of Angelika, denied knowing Bato, saying they never met him.

“We only heard Bato’s name when on the news after the shooting incident,” Jennifer said.

Angelika is the third child in the Bonita family, a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. She is currently enrolled as Grade 9 student of Sagkahan National High School (SNHS).

“We are asking for justice to be served for the death of my daughter. We are blind on what happened, my daughter is innocent,” Jennifer told reporters.

The poor family is living in a coastal area of Fatima village that was badly hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013.

The mother dismissed claims that their daughter is an illegal drug user and the lawyer’s girlfriend. She described their daughter as kind and respectful.

Joel has called on the government to address extra-judicial killings in the country to prevent innocent civilians from becoming targets in the anti-drug war.

“If you want to get rid of illegal drugs trade, do it in proper way, not in a way that there are innocent people being killed,” he said.

Even though they feel that they have slim chances of attaining justice for the death of their daughter, the couple is still hopeful that one day, the killer of their daughter will face the law.

The sudden death of Angelika has also shocked the SNHS administration.

Josefina Tanciongco, school principal, said they do not allow students to leave the campus during classes, but the day Angelika died, the school was preparing for their intramurals, conducting try-outs and auditions. (PNA/Sunnex)


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