(Trigger warning: mentions of rape and mutilation)
An outpour of grief and outrage filled social media throughout the weekend following the death of Ebeng Mayor, a 21-year old transman, who is suspected to have been robbed and raped before being killed in a manner tagged as a "hate crime".
Mayor was naked, their skull broken from beating, and covered by tree branches when they were found in a vacant lot at Sitio Bakal, Barangay Bagong Silang, Quezon City around 2:30 p.m of May 20, authorities said.
The transman was having relationship problems with their live-in partner in Pampanga when they left without notice to return to Metro Manila, their family told GMA News.
Mayor had been missing for three days after leaving their family home in Quezon City to go on a drinking session with a close friend, Zander Gal Dela Cruz alias Dugong on May 17, their sister Rachelle Tria said.
Dela Cruz owned up to raping and hitting Mayor when questioned by police, said the victim's mother, Cherry Tria. "Sinabi po talaga na nirape niya at pinukpok niya sa mukha. 'Yung dalawa pa hindi pa mahuli," Tria said.
"Sana makonsensya ka naman sumuko ka nalang kung sakali. Parang-awa mo na maawa ka naman kay Ebeng. Nakita mo lang sana siya sana makonsensya ka sa ginawa mo sa anak ko. Wala kang awa. Hindi mo alam kung pano ko siya pinakalaki," she addressed suspects in tears.
On Saturday, May 22, Dela Cruz was charged by Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office with rape with homicide and robbery, along with Joel Montoban Loyola and Richard Elvin Delima Araza. All three are under police custody.
Loyola was also charged separately with illegal possession of firearms.
Mayor's brutal death falls on the same week the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) was celebrated, prompting calls that denounce violence against the LGBTQI community.
In a separate incident, a trans woman named Junjie Bangkiao was also recently found dead in the middle of a cemetery in Alangalang, Leyte, Metro Manila Pride said.
According to the group, the two incidents couldn't be separated from earlier crimes against members of the trans community, including the death of Jennifer Laude, whose perpetrator Joseph Scott Pemberton was granted presidential pardon in September 2020 after serving five years in jail.
Since 2008 to September 2020, at least 58 transgender persons have been killed in the Philippines, the group said, citing the Trans Murder Monitoring report of Transgender Europe.
Bodies are piling up, it said, noting the Philippines is still yet to pass the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression (SOGIE) bill that could protect trans Filipinos and others harmed because of their SOGIESC.
The Commission on Human Rights also said Saturday it would investigate the incident separately as it called for the passage of the SOGIE bill to "provide legal mechanisms to hold to account perpetrators of gender-based discrimination".