Philippines Latest News

Hitmen gave beauty queen flowers and chocolates before shooting her

Mary Christine Balagtas opened her door to receive the gifts before being shot dead

A Filipino beauty queen was given flowers and chocolates by assassins who then shot her in the head.

Mary Christine Balagtas, aged 23, opened her front door to two men at her home in Bulacan, on Wednesday.

After handing over the gifts, they shot the student once in the head before making off on a waiting motorbike.

Despite the best efforts of paramedics, she died inside an ambulance before reaching hospital.

Superintendent Julio Lizardo from Plaridel Police said officers were now investigating a man who had a previous relationship with Ms Balagtas.

“We believe the attack could have been carried out by a hired gun. We found an empty shell from a .45 calibre pistol at the scene and believe that two men had fled on a motorcycle.

“Witnesses said that two men had been been seen in the neighbourhood before the shooting.

“Mary died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. We are following several leads including a man who had a romantic relationship with Mary.”

Ms Balagtas was the winner of beauty pageants in 2009 and second pageant in 2010.

She was a student at the University of Regina Carmeli College. Shocked classmates have paid tribute to Mary, who had the nickname Tin.

Friend Herlie Rozelle Flores Vecina said: “Life is just really too short for the family and friends you have left. We may not even know what true happened to you but we let it remain in the hands of our almighty God.

“We are confident that justice will prevail.

“Tin, you will be always in our hearts. You, as a daughter, a sister, a classmate in elementary, a classmate in high school, a colleague at college… but most importantly, a friend. We hope to never forget you.

“We will sincerely miss you. We love you, Mary Christine. May you rest beautifully in peace, our dear friend.”