Latest Stories


Death and the Maiden


Cyrish Magalang PDI Photo/Niño Jesus Orbeta

BACOOR CITY—A bag of puto bumbong (purple rice cakes) helped investigators track down the killers of 20-year-old Cyrish Magalang, who had bought the steamed delicacy as pasalubong on the night she was murdered.

Supterintendent Romano Cardiño, the police chief of Bacoor, said the rice cake vendor near the West Camella Springville subdivision, where the victim lived, remembered Magalang because “she bought too many” of her wares at around 10 p.m. of October 30. It was Magalang’s last stop before she got on the tricycle driven by one of her attackers.

Police found the bag of the rice sweets often associated with the festive holiday season at the ghastly site of the murder where Magalang was found the following morning.

“That could mean she was attacked just within the vicinity and that the attackers could just be around. So we started our investigation from that point,” Cardiño said.

Magalang was stabbed 49 times, her hands tied with a piece of plastic straw, and her face smashed with a hollow block. Police also found the victim’s underwear pulled down.

“She was still alive when they left her but no one knew she was there until the next morning. She died a slow death (after) losing so much blood,” the police officer said.

Magalang, a cum laude graduate of the University of Sto. Tomas, was on her way home from work at the SM Mall of Asia and, as she usually did, took the tricycle on her way home at Molino 3 in this city.

When Magalang failed to arrive home at around 11 p.m., the usual time when she did, her parents started looking for her. They called up her co-workers and friends, hoping that their daughter had just decided to spend the night somewhere else. When she could not be found until noon of October 31, the parents decided to report to the police that their daughter was missing.

“One of our police officers told the parents that a woman had just been found [dead] that morning. They were in disbelief until it was confirmed [that the woman was Magalang] at the funeral home,” said Cardiño.

A farmer found Magalang’s body inside a hut on a farm located in a remote portion of Barangay Molino 3.  No one knew how it got there until a few days later when Molino  resident Josie dela Cruz surfaced and told police that she had seen Magalang take the tricycle the night she was killed.

The night of October 30, Dela Cruz and her husband were also waiting at the tricycle stop to pick up their teenage daughter from work. She did not know who Magalang was, but for some reason, she felt suspicious of the tricycle driver and the man riding in tandem with him. She checked out the tricycle’s body number-015, and later told the police about it.

“Of course I was having second thoughts [about coming out] because we were afraid [to get involved]. But I realized I should be more afraid if we allow [the suspects] to stay on the loose,” Dela Cruz said. “I also have a daughter; what if that happened to us?”

After asking tricycle operators in the area, the police learned that it was the suspect, Roel Gacita, 24, who was driving the tricycle. The man riding in tandem with him was his brother Rolin, 27, a vegetable vendor.

On November 2, around 4 a.m., the police arrested the Gacita brothers at their home in Barangay Molino 3.

The suspects admitted to the crime. Drug tests also revealed that both were under the influence of illegal drugs the night of the murder.

“According to Rolin, he and his wife had a fight earlier [on October 31]. He went out to drink and took shabu. Then he looked for his brother and told him about his plan,” Cardiño said.

The plan was only to rob the victim. “But according to Roel, Rolin decided to bring Magalang to the farm so she could not immediately escape and report the incident to the police.

“At the farm, the victim started to scream for help so they decided to kill her,” he added.

Recovered from the crime scene was the screw driver and bloodied hollow block used to bash in the victim’s head. They also found Magalang’s empty bag.

“The suspects said the cellphone was just worth P700 when they sold it. The wallet contained something like P200,” he said.

Police on November 5 filed robbery with homicide charges against the suspects. Cardiño said that although the autopsy report showed no rape had occurred, the fact that the victim’s underwear was pulled down was enough circumstantial evidence to include a case of attempted rape.

Calls for the reimposition of the death penalty flooded social networking sites in the wake of Magalang’s death, but the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines was quick to oppose it, saying that the death penalty is “a risky policy.”

But Dante Jimenez, founder of the non-government group Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, said that restoring the death penalty would deter heinous crimes. Based on their records, at least one woman gets raped every day, he added.

The Magalang slay case also prompted tighter security measures in Bacoor City, among them a mandatory drug test among tricycle drivers and the installation of additional security cameras.

Bacoor City Mayor Strike Revilla said they had also asked establishments and hospitals to install security cameras to augment the security on the roads especially at night. •

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Crime , Cyrish Magalang , Murder , Sunday Inquirer Magazine

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  3. Palawan favorite getaway of show biz celebrities
  4. Fashionistas flock to designer’s wedding
  5. Joe de Venecia visits the Queen Mother of Cambodia
  6. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  7. A tale of two Priscillas: my mother Prissy and Chona Recto Kasten
  8. This is not just a farm
  9. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  10. Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. How Vitamin B can be a remedy for ‘manhid’ and neuropathy
  4. Sarah Geronimo and Matteo Giudicelli sing ‘All of Me’–and we all swoon
  5. 90 percent of Filipino households don’t practice proper toilet hygiene, sanitation
  6. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  7. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  8. This is not just a farm
  9. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  10. Marcos grandson to wed beautiful Rocha scion
  1. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  2. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  3. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Manila in shock over model Helena Belmonte’s death
  6. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  7. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  8. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  9. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  10. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?


  • Malaysia, Flight 370 relatives talk financial help
  • Celebrating Easter and creativity in New York
  • Man wins half marathon, dies in Argentina
  • Clouds to bring slight relief from summer heat
  • Canadians rally to legalize marijuana
  • Sports

  • Reigning champs Miami open playoffs with win
  • Spurs subdue Mavericks in playoff opener
  • Wawrinka beats Federer to win Monte Carlo Masters
  • Ageless Hopkins pitches 50-50 Mayweather deal
  • Goodbye MGM, Las Vegas for Pacquiao?
  • Lifestyle

  • Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  • Transitions and resurrection in the performing arts
  • ‘Archaeology tour’ of Cebu’s heritage of faith
  • Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  • ‘Imports’ from London, and play of the year
  • Entertainment

  • ‘Captain America’ stays strong atop US box office
  • Easter musings
  • Solenn in shorts
  • Unmerry mix of attention-calling moves on ‘Mini-Me’ TV tilts
  • Persistence pays off for The 1975
  • Business

  • BDO seen keen on bidding for Cocobank
  • Bataan freeport investment pledges up 1,302%
  • Golden Week
  • Bourse to woo Cebu stock mart investors
  • Supper power
  • Technology

  • Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks 25th anniversary
  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Opinion

  • Gigi’s home
  • Palace stonewalls on MRT inquiry
  • Couple of things too
  • There is plenty of water behind Wawa Dam
  • Triduum thoughts of a young boy
  • Global Nation

  • Obama on mission to quiet Asia skeptics
  • Search for Etihad passengers launched
  • Japan presents $57-B ‘dream plan’ to solve Metro congestion
  • Tim Tebow’s charity hospital in Davao seen to open in 7 months
  • OFW died of Mers-CoV in Saudi Arabia, says family