Couple’s kin start 2014 in mourning

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Friday, January 3, 2014

DEATH greeted the families of Dean Deserto and Cecilia Torres at the start of 2014.

Live-in partners Deserto and Torres were shot to death during the robbery of First Agro-Industrial Rural Bank Inc. (FairBank) in Barangay Pajo, Daanbantayan, Cebu last Tuesday night.

Deserto, 26, worked as a security guard at the bank. He brought Torres, 30, with him so they could greet the new year together.


Shortly before they were shot in the head allegedly by the suspected robber, another security guard, Torres spoke with her two children—aged four and five—who live with her parents in Barangay Dakit, Barili.

Their conversation lasted for several minutes because the children had many questions, said Torres’s mother, Ofelia.


Ofelia, 51, told Sun.Star Cebu that Cecilia was expected to visit them this week. “Magdala siya og pagkaon para sa mga bata (She was supposed to bring food for the children),” she said.

Cecilia bore the children from a previous relationship.

Deserto also has two children, aged five and seven, from a previous relationship. Last Christmas, he bought toys and clothes for the children, who are living with their mother, Thelma Punay, in Sitio Taytayan, Barangay Agujo in Daanbantayan.

Deserto and Torres only met in mid-2013 and had no children.

Torres’ family learned about the FairBank robbery from the news a day later. Her father Santos, 49, called up Cecilia’s mobile, but there was no response.


One of Cecilia’s aunts, who lives in Daanbantayan, confirmed her death after checking with Our Lady of Rule Funeral Homes, where the victims’ remains were brought.

Deserto’s body was claimed by Punay because his immediate family live overseas and his relatives are reportedly in Marikina, Metro Manila.

The Punays were the ones to notify Deserto’s family in the United States. His father hopped on the first flight to the Philippines upon learning the news.

Crisanta Punay, Thelma’s mother, said that had Deserto and her daughter not parted ways, he would still be alive now.

Deserto only went to work this year having relied earlier on the money sent by his family overseas.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 03, 2014.

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