The U.S.-based family of Rebeny Vergara, who was murdered in the Philippines 16 years ago, feels some relief that the suspect — who fled for the U.S. — was finally deported back to the Philippines.
But they said the only way they can feel closure is if Ezra Dave Maling gets the maximum penalty.
It took 16 long years for Filipino murder suspect Maling to finally face the charges against him for allegedly strangling to death his live-in partner, Rebeny Vergara, in March 2003 in Cainta, Rizal.
He was a fugitive, lived a double life in the Bay Area, and worked a musical director for the Bay international church.
He bragged about his music compositions in the Philippines — and curious church members who looked for his achievements online — instead chanced upon news articles revealing his dark past.
But it was only on May 15 this year that he was finally deported from Los Angeles back to the Philippines.
After Philippine authorities informed him of the nature of his arrest, Maling’s response shocked them.
Unfortunately for Maling, the warrant of arrest was valid.
He is now detained at a police facility in Cainta.
Rebeny’s ex-husband, Ganthel, said he couldn’t believe when he found out about Maling’s deportation and detention — after all, justice was elusive for so long.
But he said he’s so grateful to Maling’s former church members, to immigration authorities and to the Philippine national police for tracking down Maling and keeping at it, no matter the challenges.
For now though — he doesn’t feel closure just yet.
“Closure po siguro eh talagang makulong sya, maconvict sya — life imprisonment or death penalty.”
His daughter with Rebeny, Lexi, feels nothing can really bring them justice.
“You deserve this. You finally, finally — after 16 long years na pagtatago mo, pagkukunwari mo — you deserve this.”
Ganthel and Lexy also want those who hid Maling from authorities to be charged in court for harboring a criminal.