Calauan Re-Visited, 17 Years Later

On 29 June 1993, police found the bodies of Mary Eileen Sarmenta, 20, and her boyfriend, Allan V. Gomez, 19, students of the University of the Philippines at Los Baños, at separate locations. Sarmenta had been raped. Gomez’s body showed signs of torture.

(One of self’s brothers tells her: “You still remember that case? After all this time?”)

At the time, the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission was headed by then Vice-President Joseph Estrada. Task Force Habagat was formed to investigate the murders. The commission’s initial findings were these: that Gomez was the main target, and that Sarmenta was an accidental victim. Case closed.

Ah, so many many years ago. The police even dredged up a suspect, a close friend of Gomez, who had gone to the Calauan police station, the same day the bodies were found, to offer his help to the Chief of Police in finding the perpetrators. The policemen at the station listened to the boy’s offer of help, then told the Chief, “Sir, may suspect na tayo.” (“We have a suspect.”)

The boy was detained and named as the sole suspect in a press conference a month later. The boy’s father was so outraged that he nearly came to blows with the Calauan police. Mary Eileen Sarmenta’s mother told the press that the arrested boy and the murder victim, Allan Gomez, had been like brothers : “Parang magkapatid silang dalawa … kaya paano mangayari iyon?”

The only crime Calauan Mayor Sanchez was initially charged with was trying to destroy evidence.

You can never forget, dear blog readers. You should never ever forget.

Self wrote a story about the case. The San Francisco Chronicle reviewer, Anhoni Patel, wrote: “A wise marketing plan for this book would be to include a margarita.” (Yes, self does agree: rape stories do tend to have that margarita-inducing effect! Just look at how many Americans have turned into alcoholics after years of being subjected to “Law & Order: SVU”!!!)

Stay tuned.

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