The alleged involvement of a scion of two esteemed families in the murder of her husband has shocked Manila’s high society.
The elegant-looking Dalia Guerrero-Pastor, 28, now charged with the murder of professional racer Enzo Pastor, is a great-granddaughter of Don Ramon Roces who belonged to the powerful clan that built a Philippine media empire in the 20th century.
The Manila Times
The Roces family owned the Manila Times, the influential and most widely circulated newspaper before martial law, and other newspapers including the TVT group (Tribune-La Vanguardia-Taliba), the Daily Mirror and Liwayway. The Manila Times was a leading newspaper in Asia until President Marcos had it closed down upon the declaration of martial law in 1972.
The Filipino media considers Don Ramon as the original komiks king and the grand old man of Philippine popular publishing. (He founded and ran Atlas Publishing until his death. It published such widest-circulated komiks as Wakasan, Lagim, Hiwaga, Sampaguita, and in the ’70s, Mod magazine.)
His youngest brother, Joaquin “Don Chino” Roces, hailed as a democracy icon, was general manager of the Manila Times and was among the first ones arrested when martial law was declared.
Don Ramon’s daughter Morita, Dalia’s grandmother, married Dr. Mario Guerrero, brother of the country’s leading writer, journalist and historian Carmen “Chitang” Guerrero Nakpil. Mrs. Nakpil’s daughter with her first husband Ismael Cruz is Gemma Cruz, who would become the country’s first Miss International. (Ismael was killed in World War II when retreating Japanese forces massacred the family in Ermita.)
Morita was publisher of the family-owned Women’s Home Companion before son Alfredo inherited the duty.
Morita’s elder son Wahoo, an acclaimed photographer in the ’80s, was once married to fashion designer Helena Carratala of Azabache fame. Azabache was the trailblazing boutique and fashion line in the ’70s.
Wahoo Guerrero’s daughter
After they separated, Wahoo married Valerie. Dalia is their daughter.
Enzo and Dalia have two sons.
Relatives and friends, upon learning that Dalia has become a suspect in Enzo’s murder, were obviously surprised and recalled how Dalia, herself a car racing enthusiast, first met and fell in love with Enzo when she was just 18 and he, 22.
As expected, the young and good-looking pair shone, their mutual involvement in the racetrack providing the heady dose of mystique and adventure that made them more interesting than other ilustrado.
Writer Vernon B. Sarne of TopGear.com.ph provided an interesting glimpse of the couple’s budding relationship when he released a “verbatim rehash” of an interview with them published in February 2004.
While the tone of the interview was playful, it also showed how racing cemented the couple’s relationship.
‘My mentor in life’
Dalia acknowledged Enzo’s efforts to help her polish her racing skills and described her future husband as “more to me than just the love of my life. He is also my mentor in life and racing. He makes me push myself to the limit and beyond.”
When Sarne asked how he dealt with Dalia’s admirers, Enzo replied: “Admirers admire; those who want more than that, look elsewhere. The ratio now is eight girls to a guy. Find your own!”
A motorcycle-riding gunman shot Enzo in the head last June 12 in Quezon City. He died immediately.
The recent arrest of suspect PO2 Edgar Angel of the Pasay City police caused a tizzy, after he admitted during an interrogation about a separate drug case, that Dalia’s alleged lover, businessman Domingo “Sandy” de Guzman, paid him P100,000 earlier this year to kill Enzo.
Probers eventually connected the dots. According to an Inquirer source interviewed for the Metro section report (Aug. 29, 2014 issue, page A25), some time ago, after Enzo allegedly learned of Dalia’s affair with De Guzman, the two men came to blows at The Hyve bar in Bonifacio Global City.
Alleged gunman Angel said De Guzman told him that Enzo had begun hurting Dalia and that he was being hired to “help” make the beatings stop.
Angel and De Guzman underwent inquest proceedings at the justice department Thursday. Authorities did not find Dalia in the family’s Magallanes residence.
At Enzo’s wake last June, a relative recalled seeing Dalia constantly hugging her two sons, her eyes swollen from crying. The late racer’s sisters took turns attending to the young widow that time.
Earlier this month, Enzo’s sister Vanessa Pastor-Ledesma posted a message on social media saying she has been praying for the “perpetrators” to “realize the gravity of what they did,” of how wrong it was to “take over God’s role” in deciding whose life to take.
Following suspect Angel’s arrest, Vanessa posted another message noting the alleged gunman’s plea for forgiveness.
“Again, this is a miracle! God is alive,” she exclaimed.
The next sentence, however, was more telling. It said: “One down and 1-2 more to go?”
Vanessa said Angel’s act of seeking forgiveness “is one step closer to repentance” but stressed that those behind the murder “must and shall go through our justice system.”
A member of the Pastor clan, who preferred to remain anonymous, asked for “prayers for protection and guidance so that justice would be served to Enzo.”
The family also requests for special prayers for the couple’s two children.