Cesar Rafael: Death of a Mayor

Here’s the latest updates on the killing of Mayor Cesar Rafael of Paracelis, Mt. Province. Read our first post here.

This could very well be the first politically-motivated killing in Mt. Province. It is, of course, shocking that it happened but that it happened in Paracelis is not that shocking. The town has a reputation as the province’s “wild east”; it’s kind of like Abra in terms of its brand of politics and in the possibility that violence, which brews unseen, could burst out to the surface.

Still, there is no excuse for murders like this. Our condolences to the mayor’s family and we hope that his killers are brought to justice.

Here’s an Inquirer story by Frank Cimatu and Desiree Caluza:

The killers of Mayor Cesar Rafael of Paracelis, Mt. Province, fired at least 60 bullets into his car that shattered parts of his body.

Residents who saw Rafael’s body at the Paracelis District Hospital in Barangay Poblacion in the town described what was done to the mayor as a “desecration.”

“His eyes and ears were blown off. His arm was almost torn off,” a Paracelis resident said through a text message. “This could only be done by an outsider. Anyone who truly knows the mayor would not have done this,” the resident said.

Rafael was driving his Toyota Hilux and had just left his farm in Barangay Palitod in Paracelis when he was attacked between 12 and 1 p.m. on Tuesday, police said.

Signs of planning
Reports said Rafael attended a family gathering in the area on Christmas Day.

Mt. Province Gov. Maximo Dalog said the attack was well planned because the police found ropes and unused bullets near the ambush site. He said reports reaching him showed that at least five men were involved in the attack. Dalog has asked the police to speed up the investigation of Rafael’s murder.

Chief Supt. Eugene Martin, Cordillera police director, and Senior Supt. Joseph Adnol, Mt. Province police director, described the attackers as “merciless.”

Intense anger
“Galit na galit (The suspects were seething with anger). Rafael was shot about three to four meters away after coming from his farm … They really wanted him dead,” said Martin.

“Based on our initial investigation, mukhang may galit at may paghihiganti kay Mayor Rafael (It seemed the attackers were really angry and wanted to exact revenge on Mayor Rafael),” Adnol told the Inquirer in a telephone interview.

Another task force
The police formed “Task Force Mayor Rafael” to investigate the mayor’s murder. Martin said they were looking at several angles for the attack, among them politics, a land dispute and the possibility of involvement of the New People’s Army in the murder.

Rafael, a long-time mayor of Paracelis, was recently elected president of the mayors’ league of Mt. Province. His daughter, Ana Maria Paz Rafael-Banaag, is mayor of nearby Natonin town.

Attack in bailiwick
Some residents said it was surprising that Rafael would be attacked in Palitod because the village is his bailiwick. They said Rafael owned a huge tract of land there and had donated his house to be turned into a school in the village.

Paracelis is more than four hours’ drive from the capital town of Bontoc. The town shares borders with Isabela, Kalinga and Ifugao. Rafael was added to the growing list of murdered local officials in the area. Most of the murders have not been solved.

Other links: Mayor’s daughter pleads for sobriety; five men are being hunted for the murder.

5 thoughts on “Cesar Rafael: Death of a Mayor”

  1. bakit naman ganon ang ginawa sa kanya?… parang hindi tao yung ginawa nila kay mayor….dapat lang na mahuli at mapatawan ng nararapat na kaparusahan ang mga taong gumawa sa kanya ng karumaldumal na pagpatay… sa family ni mayor,, tatagan niyo lang ang loob niyo dahil mahuhuli at mahuhuli ang mga taong gumawa nun sa ating pinakamamahal na mayor…

  2. sa lahat ng mga nagmamahal sa ating butihing mayor…. ipagdasal nalang po nating lahat na sana mahuli na ang pinaka mastermind sa walang awang pagpatay sa ating mahal na mayor…
    SA LAHAT NAMAN NG GUMAWA NG KARUMALDUMAL NA PAGPASLANG KAY MAYOR…. SANA NAMAN HINDI KAYO PATULUGIN NG MGA KONSENSYA NIYO,, SA KAUNTING HALAGA NAGAGAWA NIYONG PUMATAY NG TAO.. TAPOS ANG PERANG GALING SA PAGPATAY… IPINAPAKAIN NIYO SA MGA PAMILYA NIYO… NAKAKAHIYA KAYONG LAHAT…. BUHAY PA KAYO… NASUSUNOG NA ANG MGA KALULUWA NIYO SA IMPYERNO….

  3. ang lahat ng mga tao ay nagngingit-ngit sa galit sa ginawa nila kay mayor…pano na ang paracelis niyan kung wala na siya… sana ang papalit ay kagaya niyang mapagmahal at matulungin…

  4. in two months,it’s xmas and i can still feel the pain of remembering what was done..i still cant believe that he is gone..i was able to get through with the pain i felt when my dad passed away(though not yet completely)because i came to understand that he died from a sickness but this..this is more than just losing a loved one..it is the awakening of an urge to take justice into our own hands..paracelis is our town..for many years,our mayor tried his best to impose peace and order for the benefit of his people…he loved us and we cannot deny the fact that he was loved and is still loved by the paracelicians even if he’s gone..

    on the last night of his wake,they asked me to sing a song as a tribute to my beloved Uncle who was mercilessly killed..i didnt know of a song that would fit his profession so i composed the song “MAYOR ANG TITO KO” to the tune of KAWAL ANG TATAY KO(the song i sung on my dad’s internment)…as i was singing, auntie ketty, who was sitting in front of me wiped her eyes…that was when i realized that what had been done is unforgivable..the next day-his internment- was the final kick-off for the natives of the town..it was when a throng of people came to witness the last services paid for the man who only wanted peace and prosperity among his people.auntie paz,the wife, talked of justice..it’s all we want..JUSTICE

    in behalf of our family and clan-RAFAEL,LAUSAN,CHORAWAN,BASILAN clans, we are pleading for JUSTICE.

    Haan nga makagaraw ti pulis nu haan tayo nga agtitinnulung tapnu mabirukan dan ti nangplano ti pannakatay ni mayor tayo. Agasao kuman ti adda ammu na tapnu maala tayo ti hustisya.

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