Mhelody Polan Bruno matters. Her best friend Dholley wants to make sure the world knows that.
"We miss you. Why did this happen to you? You shouldn’t have kept that man a secret from us. All you’ve built up is of no use now. You were so young."
Transgender Filipina Mhelody Polan Bruno was only 25 years old when she lost her life a week ago while on vacation in Australia. She was in Australia for two months, visiting her boyfriend Andy.
Loss of a life
Mhelody, who had only a few days left in Australia, was found unresponsive and bruised in a home unit on Tarcutta Street, Wagga Wagga in the morning of September 21, 2019.
Paramedics conducted CPR on her before taking her to the Wagga Wagga Base Hospital.
She passed away after 10am the following day.
A 31-year old man was arrested and charged with manslaughter. He was given strict conditional bail.
Andy is not a suspect in the case.
The one who knew her best
Dholley Garcia, Mhelody's best friend, confirmed that they got wind that the suspect is from the navy and that Mhelody was said to have claimed that she wanted to marry him.
Although that bit of information could be valuable to the case, Dholley admits that she has never met the suspect and that Mhelody never divulged any information about him to them.
"But she had her secrets. She didn’t tell us about him," Dholley admits, adding, "I think maybe she didn’t want to tell anyone because she already had a boyfriend. I think she met him when she was already in Wagga Wagga."
While in Wagga Wagga, Mhelody kept her friends back home in the loop regarding her trips with Andy.
"We’ve met Andy. He was a nice guy. They met on a dating site and he visited Mhelody in the Philippines twice before. Andy said he loved her when I asked him; but I wasn’t so sure if Mhelody felt the same way."
But while Mhelody was uncertain about her feelings towards Andy, Dholley shares that her friend had always been sure about her wanting to be a woman.
"Mhelody has always known that she was a woman inside even when we were in school," she shares, adding, "She was a good student. She always got good grades and she was always joining activities in school. She started her transition then. She wasn't ashamed of it. For her, it was easy."
What was hard for Mhelody though was making a living, not only for herself but for her whole family.
"After she finished school in Surigao, she worked right away. She became the breadwinner of the family," Dholley says, adding, "She had her own place in Makati but she lost her job in the call centre in Alorica so she stayed with me often."
The two were inseparable and now Dholley feels an overwhelming sense of loss.
"I miss her so much. It’s so hard to accept that she’s gone. We were expecting her to come home and tell us about her trip," she says, adding, "We just want justice for Mhelody. Why did that man do that to her? Why did he kill her? He needs to be punished for what he did. We want her body back home."
Migrante Australia, a national alliance of Filipino migrant organisations, is calling on govennment agencies as well as the Filipino-Australian community "to extend support and assistance to Mhelody Bruno’s family as they seek justice and the repatriation of her body back to the Philippines."
A vigil for Mhelody will be held on October 7 at the Victoria Memorial Gardens in Wagga Wagga from 7:00 to 10:30 pm.