Propped against her bullet-ridden body was a cardboard sign that read, “Pusher to the celebrities, you are next.”

The killing follows accusations that Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte ordered death squads to assassinate drug dealers and criminals while he was the Mayor of Davao city. Since taking up the presidency in June, 3,000 people have been killed in his drug war.

Moynihan, 45, was found with four bags of shabu, a street name for methamphetamine, and “other drug paraphernalia”, according to authorities reported the Sunday Times.

Police released CCTV showing Moynihan getting out of a Toyota SUV, before being shot multiple times. Nearby residents reported that she was shot five times.

Following Moynihan’s death, her sister Maritoni Fernandez – who is a national celebrity in the Philippines – released a statement to pay tribute.

She said: “We as a family have one priority… and that is to protect her children from further pain and suffering so that they, and we as a family, may take this time to grieve, mourn, but most of all celebrate the life of this exceptional human being.”

Maritoni Fernandez releases official statement on sister Aurora Moynihan’s death: 

Aurora Moynihan (R) with her sister Maritoni Fernandez who paid tribute to her in a written statement

Duterte has encouraged police to carry out extrajudicial killings on drug dealers with impunity, resulting in 1,466 deaths. Another 1,490 deaths were caused by suspected vigilantes.

International criticism has mounted over Duterte’s bloody drug war, with groups such as Human Rights Watch calling for a UN investigation. However, he has remained steadfast in his push to tackle the country’s addiction to amphetamines.

Speaking before troops in Isabela province on Saturday (17 September), Duterte told police officers and the military to carry on as they were, saying he would “protect” them.

“I will protect you. I will not allow one policeman or one military to go to jail,” he said according to ABS CBN.

“Tell them you are taking orders from Mayor Duterte. Just do what is the mandate of the Constitution and I will take care of you.”
Alleged drug pusher to celebrities slain
The body of Ma. Aurora Moynihan lies along Temple Drive in Quezon City before dawn yesterday. Inset shows a placard her killers had placed on her body. Photos supplied by the Quezon City Police District.

Victim is actress Maritoni Fernandez’s sister

MANILA, Philippines – A woman who allegedly supplied illegal drugs to celebrities was shot dead in Quezon City before dawn yesterday.

Ma. Aurora Moynihan, 45, of Ecology Village in Makati City, was found dead shortly after she was dumped at the corner of Temple Drive and Giraffe street in Barangay Ugong Norte, said Police Officer 3 Anthony Tejerero, case investigator.

Moynihan is a sister of actress Maritoni Fernandez, said Quezon City Police District (QCPD) director Senior Superintendent Guillermo Eleazar.

Witnesses told police they heard five gunshots from a sport utility vehicle – with Moynihan inside – a few minutes before she was dumped, Tejerero said.

The witnesses said the vehicle sped away, heading toward White Plains Avenue, leaving the victim behind.

Moynihan was found with a placard that read “pusher ng mga celebrities kasunod na kayo (pusher to the celebrities you are next).”

Recovered from the victim’s bag were sachets said to contain shabu, four pieces of aluminum foil, two improvised glass tooters, three improvised lamps and some personal belongings.

Eleazar said he will call for an investigation of Moynihan’s killing, considering it as a “death under investigation.”

He did not set aside the possibility that Moynihan was delivering illegal drugs in Quezon City.

Eleazar said the QCPD is currently monitoring celebrities in Quezon City who are allegedly linked to the illegal drug trade.

5 drug suspects killed

Meanwhile, at least five suspected drug pushers and users were killed over the past two days.

A man and a woman – both suspected to be drug users – were found dead at the Navotas Public Cemetery at around 2:30 a.m. yesterday.

The bodies were found by Barangay San Jose watchmen Ruben Medina and Eduardo de Ramon not far from each other along an alley in the cemetery, police said. The victims’ heads were wrapped in duct tape and a sachet said to contain shabu was recovered from each of them.

The man was described to be between 40 and 54 years old, 5’5” tall and of medium build. He also had tattoos of “Noel Jr., Jessie Neri” and a rose on his chest and “Vicky” on his back.

He was clad in a white t-shirt and blue short pants.

The woman was described to be between 35 and 40 years old and 5’2” tall. She had a tattoo of “Ramos Falcon” on her back and was clad in a sleeveless shirt and gray denim pants.

A fired bullet shell of an unknown caliber was found at the crime scene.

In Quezon City, construction worker Alex Acosta, 38, was killed in an alleged shootout with police officers who were conducting Oplan Tokhang in Barangay Baesa Friday afternoon.

Talipapa police station commander Superintendent Danilo Mendoza said he received reports from the government’s hotline 999 about Acosta’s alleged drug deals. He was on the station’s drug watchlist.

He said they conducted Oplan Tokhang – visiting the homes of alleged drug pushers and users and asking them to change their ways – after receiving the reports.

Acosta reportedly shot at the lawmen. Police Officer 1 Doehler Salamangca was hit in the left shoulder during the gunfight but was reported to be in stable condition at the Quezon City General Hospital.

Acosta’s partner, identified only as Charlegne, 37, and Pedro Antonio Gajudo Jr., 49, were arrested.

Two men were killed in separate shootouts with police officers in Navotas and Manila.

An unidentified man was shot in the head after leading police officers on a brief chase from an Oplan Sita checkpoint along Rajah Baguinda street at around 9:45 p.m. Friday.

The man was described to be between 30 and 35 years old, 5’4” tall, sporting an “Army” haircut and clad in a green shirt, gray short pants and white slippers. He had tribal tattoos on both arms.

The man reportedly aimed a .38 caliber revolver at the police officers, prompting them to shoot him.

Among the items seized from the man were the gun, loaded with three bullets, and a coin purse containing two sachets of suspected shabu and drug paraphernalia.

In Manila, Ronnie Bucao, 50, was killed in an alleged gunfight with police officers from the San Nicolas community precinct and anti-drug and intelligence units in a drug den on Anggalo street in Binondo at around 3:30 p.m.

The operation’s target was Esmundi Ariola, who allegedly maintained the drug den in his house.

Police initially reported that Bucao bought sachets of shabu from Ariola, but someone warned them of police officers in the area.

Bucao and Ariola ran into the house but two police officers followed them up to the third floor. Bucao reportedly used his .38 caliber revolver to shoot at the lawmen, who shot him dead. – With Ghio Ong