CLARK FREEPORT – The remains of Jastine Valdez, the 24-yearold Filipina student who was abducted and murdered in Ireland last May 19, landed at the Clark International Airport here Wednesday night and was motored immediately to her hometown in Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya.
Alexander Cauguiran, Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) president-CEO, said Valdez’s remains were accompanied by her parents Danilo and Teresita Valdez, and Philippine Honorary Consul in Dublin Mark Christopher Congdon. Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary Elmer Cato was also around to condole with the parents.
Cauguiran said he and other CIAC officials met with the parents and representatives from the DFA Office of Migrant Workers Affairs upon arrival of the remains at 6:40 p.m. Uniformed CIAC aviation security officers lifted the victim’s sealed casket and placed it in a private van bound for Aritao town in Nueva Vizcaya where burial rites were set.
Speaking on behalf of the Valdez family, Consul Congdon expressed the gratitude of the bereaved parents to the Philippine government for helping in the repatriation of the remains of their only daughter.
Valdez was last seen alive when she left her home in Enniskerry, Co Wicklow in the afternoon of May 19. On the same night, her parents who stayed with her, reported her missing.
The Gardai, or the Irish police, found her body in thick woodland at the Cherrywood Business Park in South Dublin on May 20.
The suspect, described by one Irish newspaper as “psycho killer,” was identified as Mark Hennessy, 41, who was shot dead by the police moments after he called his wife to whom he admitted the murder.
The Irish Times reported that “on the same day that 3,500 people from 120 countries across the globe gathered to celebrate their joy at becoming new Irish citizens in a special ceremony in Co Kerry, Jastine’s death was being confirmed.”
“Not for her a citizenship ceremony and a new life launched. Her Irish dream, and a life so full of potential, were cruelly gone,” the newspaper reported.
It lamented that Valez “had come to Ireland to try to build a better life for herself three years ago. She was studying as a first-year, part-time accounting and finance student at the Institute of Technology, Tallaght, according to the registrar of the college, Dr Kenneth Carroll.”
“Her mother and father were living here too, staying close to their only child; all three of them a long way from home,” the Irish Times said.
“That they would come to what is one of the safest countries in the world, and a nation said to be among the friendliest, and yet fall victim in this way to the darkest of acts astonishes, frightens, horrifies,” it said.
“Exactly how and why it happened may never be fully clear. The only two people the Garda believe could shed light on precisely what happened, Jastine and her assumed killer, 40-yearold builder and father-of two Mark Hennessy, are both dead,” the newspaper also reported.