Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte’s death squads kill Baron Moynihan’s daughter

September 20, 2016 5:30 am
The daughter of one of Britain’s most colourful aristocrats is the latest casualty of anti-drug death squads killing in the name of Philippine President .
Police say Aurora Moynihan was shot five times in the chest before being dumped on a street corner in Manila.
Moynihan, 45, is the Paris-educated younger sister of national movie star Maritoni Fernandez. The siblings’ father was Baron Antony Moynihan, a globetrotting, “drug smuggling, brothel keeping” police informant who died in Manila in 1991, aged 55.
famously helped secure the 1988 arrest of Howard Marks, a former big-time cannabis trafficker whose autobiography Mr Nice became a best-selling cult classic and turned him into a folk hero.
Aurora Moynihan’s sister, movie star Maritoni Fernandez, said the family is in ‘deep shock’ over her murder. Photo / Twitter
Seven years earlier, the Woodward Royal Commission had linked the eccentric peer to a Sydney criminal syndicate known as the “Double Bay Mob”, which was importing heroin from Manila.
Moynihan had reportedly been on a police watch list since 2013, when she was arrested on a minor possession charge involving the drug ice, known as shabu in the Philippines.
Her body was found in a gutter on the corner of Temple and Giraffe streets in Quezon City, Manila in the early hours of September 10.
Beside her was a black bag allegedly containing cash, four small sachets of suspected
shabu, homemade drug pipes and lamps, mobile phones and several pieces of jewellery.
A cardboard sign bearing the words: “Celebrity drug pusher, you’re next,” had been propped up against her.
Such signs are the calling cards of vigilante killers and death squads honouring President Rodrigo Duterte’s call on citizens to exterminate drug users and dealers.
More than 3000 people, including several young children, have been killed since Duterte issued the decree a month before he took office on June 30.


His murderous war on drugs, launched more than two decades ago when he served a record number of terms as mayor of Davao City, won him the presidency.
And as the death toll continues to soar, so does Duterte’s approval rating, which is hovering at around 90 per cent.
On the night Moynihan was killed, six other suspected drug dealers and users were gunned down in across the city, either by vigilantes or in police shootouts.
The Quezon City Police Department this week released CCTV footage of Moynihan’s body being pushed out of a Toyota SUV.
“We think that, assuming she got [into the car] alive and was shot there, she might know her killers,” Senior Superintendent Guillermo Eleazar told reporters, according to Tempo online.
“Since we established she had prior involvement in illegal drugs, we can say there’s a big possibility that drugs were involved.”
Moynihan’s celebrity sister, actor Maritoni Fernandez said her family was “deeply shocked” and devastated by the murder.
“We as a family have one priority, and that is to protect her children from further pain and suffering so that they, and we as a family, may take this time to grieve, mourn, but most of all celebrate the life of this exceptional human being,” Fernandez said.
“I will forever have the privilege of calling her my sister.”

Blue blood: A life of privilege

Aurora Moynihan could have had the world at her feet.

Born into a wealthy, aristocratic family and blessed with brains and beauty, she attended an exclusive boarding school in England before graduating from a top Swiss finishing school.
The multilingual young woman studied French literature at the Sorbonne in Paris and looked set for success.
Unfortunately she inherited her father’s weakness for drugs, booze and the seamier side, resulting in a lifelong battle with addiction.
“My younger sister Aurora is exactly like our father; she gets bored easily,” Fernandez said in a recent interview.
“She is the amazing one. She’s the one that got everything from Daddy; she speaks so many languages well, she drinks like a fish, she holds court the way Daddy did, she’s as brilliant, she has wonderful ideas. But she also dabbled in a lot of drugs.”
However, an anonymous tribute on Reddit this week from somebody claiming to have been a close friend claimed Moynihan was clean at the time of her death, even suggesting it had been staged to look like a vigilante killing.
“She’d partied in her youth but had been sober for years,” the friend said in an emotional post.
“Yet somehow she either wound up on someone’s hit list, or someone with a grudge killed her for personal reasons, knowing that so long as they tied a sign around her neck, there’d be no investigation.
“She wasn’t ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time’. She wasn’t shot while firing on cops (the police weren’t involved at all). This wasn’t a sting gone bad. It was cold-blooded murder. And now her son, whose father died in an accident years ago, will grow up an orphan.
“This is the world we live in now. This is what Duterte’s mad crusade has wrought. Whether or not they have ever dealt with drugs in their lives, no one is safe; not so long as there is even one person out there who would like to see them dead.
“Thanks to the new normal, any asshole with a gun, a piece of cardboard, and a marker has all they need to murder whomever they want.
“May God help us all.”

Antony Moynihan and his third wife, Manila dancer Luz de la Rossa Fernandez, celebrating their wedding on May 1, 1968. Photo / Getty Images

Australian connection

According to his obituary in the Telegraph, Baron Moynihan had a plaque on the wall bearing the words: “Of the 36 ways of avoiding disaster, running away is the best.”
The first place the young baron ever ran away to was Australia, where his uncle owned a sheep farm in NSW.
According to the story, Moynihan sailed to Sydney in 1956 to escape the wrath of his father, who was annoyed about his reported relationship with a London nightclub waitress.
“The second [reason he ran] was to escape his wife, an actor and sometime nude model; they had married secretly the previous year, and she had now taken out a summons against him for assault,” the obit said.
“Her father had made a similar complaint – ‘I regret to say I gave him a swift right upper cut,'” Moynihan announced from Australia.
“The idea was that he should work on his uncle’s sheep farm in the bush, but after five days he ran away to Sydney, where he made his debut as a banjo-player and met the Malayan fire-eater’s assistant who was to become his second wife.”
In 1965, he returned to England where he succeeded his father in the peerage, taking the Liberal whip in the House of Lords.
But he couldn’t keep on the straight and narrow and, by 1970, was facing 57 criminal charges, including the theft of two bed sheets and the “fraudulent trading and the purchase of a Rolls-Royce with a worthless cheque”.
To avoid imprisonment he sought refuge in Spain, subsequently opening a nightclub in Ibiza. When Britain tried to extradite him in 1968, Baron Moynihan fled to the Philippines where he met the woman who was to become his third wife, exotic dancer Luz de la Rossa Fernandez – the mother of Aurora and Maritoni.

Lord Anthony Moynihan dancing with showgirl Monica Scott at a Sydney nightclub in 1956. Photo / Getty Images

The newlyweds owned a string of brothels in Manila and enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with then-Philippine first couple Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos.
Sometime in the late 1970s, Moynihan returned to Sydney where he hooked up with a gang of international drug smugglers known as the “Double Bay Mob”.
In 1980, Justice Philip Woodward named Moynihan as an associate of the syndicate during his royal commission into drugs.
“Lord Moynihan is a shadowy figure about whom I have learned very little, other than he is an associate of a number of Australian drug traffickers. Moynihan is, or was, in some way involved in, or assisting in, the importation of heroin from Manila.”
After the Marcoses were toppled in a coup, Moynihan found himself the perpetual subject of investigation and, in 1986, was forbidden from leaving the country because of inquiries into his links to drugs and prostitution.
From that time on, Moynihan became a reluctant informant for Scotland Yard and the US Drugs Enforcement Agency (DEA). They used him to set a trap for his friend, international drug trafficker Howard Marks, who at the time controlled an estimated sixth of the global market in marijuana, and with whom he was already on friendly terms.
Moynihan approached Marks with a fake offer to sell him an island in the Philippines on which he could grow marijuana. In return for his own immunity agreed to entrap his friend by wearing a wire.
After serving time in a US jail, Marks penned an autobiography called Mr Nice, which became a worldwide cult classic and cemented his reputation as a folk hero. He would later speak of his betrayal at the hands of Moynihan, calling his former friend “a first-class bastard”.

International drug smuggler turned best-selling author Howard Marks was betrayed by his former friend, Antony Moynihan. Photo / Supplied

Aurora Moynihan, the daughter of a notorious runaway British peer, the 3rd Lord Moynihan, has been shot dead in the Philippines amid the country’s increasingly bloody war on drugs.
A body was found dumped in a Manila street last weekend. It was identified as that of Aurora Moynihan. Police said the 45-year-old was found with sachets of drugs and next to a cardboard sign reading “drug pusher to the celebrities you are next”.
Why was she in the Philippines?
She was the daughter of the playboy baron Tony Moynihan, who fled to the Philippines in late 1960s facing a string of fraud allegations in the UK.

Why was she killed?
Her sister Maritoni Fernandez is an actress.
The country has seen a wave of vigilante killings since the election of its new President Rodrigo Duterte, who advocates an extreme crackdown on drugs and crime. He has been accused of encouraging the deaths of more than 3000 people in drug-related vigilante killings since he came to power. Police in Manila’s Quezon district were reported in local media as saying that Moynihan had not been on a drug watch list but that her death was nevertheless considered to be drugs-related.
How has her family reacted?
Maritoni Fernandez said in a statement published in Filipino media: “In the early hours of September 10th, we lost my sister Aurora Moynihan. We as a family have one priority and truth at this point in time and that is to protect her children from further pain and suffering so that they, and we as a family may take this time to grieve, mourn but most of all celebrate the life of this exceptional human being I will forever have the privilege of calling my sister. Thank you for your understanding.”
What was her father known for?
Moynihan’s father was one of the most colourful but notorious aristocrats of his age. An obituary in the Daily Telegraph, following his death in 1991, described him as a “bongo-drummer, confidence trickster, brothel-keeper, drug-smuggler and police informer”. He was named in his absence at an Old Bailey trial as “the evil genius” behind a series of frauds, the judge describing it as “a case of Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark”.
Does Duterte have a history of violence?
In a hearing in the Philippine Senate this month, a witness claimed Duterte paid him to carry out executions that involved, among other things, feeding a body to a crocodile, chopping up corpses and murder by packing tape. The witness, Edgar Matobato, spoke at Senate hearings investigating the extra-judicial killings. Matobato said he spent years working as part of the so-called “Davao Death Squad,” a group of killers associated with the President’s time as a city mayor. Matobato’s claims, which have not been independently confirmed, linked Duterte and his son, Paolo Duterte, to a list of crimes worthy of a gangster film.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte poses with Philippine Army Scout Rangers at their headquarters at Camp Tecson in San Miguel, north of Manila. Photo / AP

Who did he target?
Matobato said he and fellow assassins referred to then-Mayor Duterte using the code name, “Charlie Mike,” and he ordered them to kill dozens of people ranging from drug pushers, to the dance-instructor boyfriend of Duterte’s sister, to a millionaire hotelier. “People in Davao City were like chickens – they were being killed without any reason,” said Matobato.
How did the lawmakers react?
The hearing’s chair, Senator Leila de Lima, is a longtime critic of Duterte’s human rights record. She said she saw the testimony as a step towards truth and justice for victims of the President’s alleged purges, past and present. “People deserve to know,” she said. A Duterte ally present at the hearing, Senator Alan Cayetano, dismissed Matobato’s sworn testimony as “lies,” questioning his credibility and casting the whole process as a politically motivated plot against the President. A spokesman for the President denied the specific allegations.
What does Duterte say?
Duterte swept to power this year promising to crackdown on crime, just as he did as mayor in Davao, where he earned a reputation for strongman tactics and was christened “the death-squad mayor” for allegedly overseeing extra-judicial killings. During this year’s campaign Duterte did not shy away from his “death squad” moniker, promising he would kill 100,000 criminals in six months. “When I become president, I’ll order the police and the military to find these people and kill them. The funeral parlours will be packed. . . I’ll supply the dead bodies,” he said.

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