Filipinos demand answers over Cyprus serial killer

Hundreds of Filipino migrant workers have protested outside Cyprus’ presidential palace to mourn seven women and girls who police say an army officer has confessed to killing. 

They claim the authorities fail to investigate thoroughly enough when foreigners are reported missing.

The names of the victims and those of the missing women were read out in the Greek region of the divided Mediterranean island. Placards condemned “sexist, misogynist and racist” attitudes towards women, often Filipinos, who work as housekeepers or in other low-income jobs.

Cypriot National Guard captain, Nicos Metaxas, originally from Greece, is in custody facing several murder charges.

The 35-year-old is due to appear in court today (Saturday) for a hearing.

Metaxas allegedly met at least two of the women on the dating site Badoo. 

The police in the Republic of Cyprus told a court that Metaxas admitted to strangling one of the victims after having sex with her.

“I felt obliged to do something for these women, all the missing women, all the killed women,” protest organiser Maria Mappouridou said. “I think deep down, all that we want, what everybody wants, is justice.”

The Federation of Filipino Organisations in Cyprus chairwoman Ester Beatty said she hoped the community’s suffering would raise awareness about migrant rights on the island.

Cyprus has a sizable Filipino community.

A week ago Mary Rose Tiburcio, 38, from the Philippines, was found in a disused mineshaft, triggering an investigation that led to Metaxas’ arrest. 

Cyprus has around 80 unsolved missing cases dating back to 1990.

Tiburcio and her six-year-old daughter had been missing since May 2018 and arrested the army officer after studying her online messages.

The police also found the body of fellow Filipino 28-year-old Arian Palanas Lozano in the flooded mineshaft 32km west of Nicosia.

Metaxas purportedly told detectives about four more victims at a military firing range.

Another victim, who according to the suspect was of Nepalese or Indian descent, was found buried at the site. 

Three other victims so far are a 31-year-old Filipino woman who has purportedly been missing since December 2017, Maricar Valtez Arquiola.  

Romanian Livia Florentina Bunea, 36, and her eight-year-old daughter Elena Natalia Bunea, were also reported missing since September 2016.

Five British specialists, including a coroner, psychiatrist and investigators who specialise in multiple murders, have travelled to Cyprus to help with the investigation.



The Cypriot authorities retrieve bodies at an abandoned mineshaft. Picture credit: YouTube