Pepe was waiting for a ride along the national highway in Barangay Apatot, hoping to be in Manila in time to fetch Manegdeg, then working in Hong Kong, who was arriving at 5 a.m. the next day. He never got on that bus; he was shot around 10 p.m., his body bearing 22 gunshot wounds. The Ilocos police later tagged a member of the Army, Capt. Joel Castro of the 50th Infantry Battalion, as the main suspect. The provincial prosecutor initially said Castro was accompanied by five other men during the attack, but he dismissed the case in 2007, citing the retraction made by the lone witness.It has been almost six years since her husband was killed along a lonely stretch of highway in Ilocos Sur, but Florence “Dom-an" Macagne Manegdeg refuses to end her quest for justice. “Mabigat sa akin na hindi umuusad ang kaso (It’s a burden for me that this case is not moving forward). Others may consider it a cold case, but for me, it will always be a hot case," Manegdeg said. Jose Manegdeg’s death was recorded as a case of extrajudicial killing at the time Oplan Bantay Laya, a counter-insurgency program of the former Arroyo administration, became a flagship program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Then 37 and a father of two, Pepe was the coordinator of the Rural Missionaries in the Philippines in the Cordillera and Ilocos.


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