Elected official ‘masterminded’ murder of trans woman, suspect says

Trans teacher Estee Saway (left) and Mike Armando Wilson (right).

A Filipino elected official has been accused of formulating the killing of a trans teacher in Abra according to a Police report.

Barangay chairman hon. Mike Armando Wilson was reportedly identified by one of the four suspects arrested a few hours after the killing of Estee Saway on Wednesday (28 September).

Saway was shot by a gunman outside of a local carwash in Barangay Lipcan while on her way to work. She was declared dead after being taken to Abra Provincial hospital by first responders.

Officers managed to find the suspects as they were fleeing on a motorcycle toward Barangay Santa Rosa in Bangued by reviewing nearby CCTV footage.

They admitted to officers that they were paid 100,000 (£1,501) to kill Saway over a land dispute in the area.

Police provincial director col. Maly Cula said in a statement that Saway’s family owns land in Boliney, Abra that was being mined by Wilson according to Manila Bulletin, who continually misgenders Saway.

The family reportedly became frustrated after he stopped the mining operation early.

As a result, Wilson came into contact with Abelardo “Abe” Talape who contracted gunman Romel “Ambong” Paa, driver Sonny Boy Gandeza Tuullas, and lookout Adrin Alagao.

Cula clarified that the investigating officers are currently waiting for a warrant to be issued to allow for Wilson’s arrest.

Members of the community have since posted online to mourn the loss of Saway, with friends, family, colleagues, and well-wishers attending her wake on Friday (30 September).

Additionally, local LGBTQ+ groups have demanded that Filipino authorities rectify the country’s discrimination and protection laws to help mitigate the attacks on LGBTQ+ and trans individuals.

The FEU Sexuality and Gender Alliance (FEU SAGA) said in a statement: “Along with our grieving with the family and friends of Estee, we are also seeking for an urgent investigation and demanding justice for the killing of our trans sister. With this, the organisation is one in reiterating the call for the passage of [sexual orientation and gender identity expression] anti-discrimination bill.”

Additionally, the LGBTQ+ nonprofit Bahaghari called for a similar bill to be passed, adding that it would “continue to amplify our demand” for the “immediate passage of a comprehensive national anti-discrimination bill and other pro-LGBTQIA+ policies that protect us.”

“LGBTQIA+ lives are not just statistics – we are human beings whose safety and rights matter!”