Dumaguete for me has always truly been the City of Gentle People; an easy-going and relaxed city that has routinely lived up to its nickname. In fact, not too long ago I published a two-part article listing out a number of reasons why our little city has stolen my heart. Over the past few weeks, however, there has been a palpable change across town, with reports of increased robberies and murders. The purpose of this article will be to examine the most recent of these murders, the shooting deaths of Meagan Noble, age 21 and April Bien, 30, both of Pasay City in the NCR.
Initial reports we filed online on September 16th, with a neighbor noting that both women were shot at around 10 AM that morning on Meciano Road. (Meciano Road is the home of Foundation University and is also where one of my scooters was stolen a few years back.) The witness noted that two men riding in tandem on a red Suzuki Raider with removed license plates were following a pedicab occupied by the two young women. They then pulled up next to the trike with a brandished pistol and signaled the driver to stop and step away from the vehicle. The driver complied and the shooter fired three shots into the women in the black shirt. The driver fled the scene and the shooter on the Raider stepped off the scooter, walked up to the pedicab and fired two shots into the young women in white. Filipinos nearby were ordered to hit the dirt (remember this was at 10 AM on a Saturday morning on a busy city street) and then the killers drove off. The Filipina in white, Meagan Noble, was killed immediately while the women in black, April Bien, was taken to the Intensive Care Unit at Holy Child Hospital where she later succumbed to the gunshot wounds.
It was later found that the two women had just come from city detention center where they had visited some of the 12 suspects in a recent credit card scam. A short time after they left the center, the tandem riding team pulled their pedicab cab over and shot the women while they were still sitting in the trike.
Further details are not available, and although the title of this article notes extrajudicial killings, there is a possibility that they could have been killed by other criminals involved in the scheme. The chances of the latter being true seem rather tenuous however, and it looks like this might simply be another case of citizens taking the law into their own hands. If I am wrong, I will change the title and make the appropriate corrections in the text.
In a small city like Dumaguete, the murder of these two women is as equally shocking as it is sad. Condolences to their families. Even if they were somehow a part of the big credit card scam in, they didn’t deserve to be executed in such a horrific manner.
UPDATE: CCTV footage taken at the scene of the shooting showed the two assailants removing bags from the victims before speeding off. It is not known what was in the bags, but there is talk that it might have had something to do with bail money.