The following is an open letter to all New Zealanders, from Antonio Gotingco, husband of murdered Auckland woman, Blessie Gotingco. For those not already familiar with the story, Blessie's death was horrific; she was run down with a car, brutally raped, murdered, and her body dumped in a South Auckland cemetary. Her murderer, Tony Robertson, was a convicted child molester, who had only recently been paroled. The Corrections Department were so concerned about Robertson's risk of reoffending, that prior to his release, they had applied to the High Court, and been granted, extended supervision orders, including electronic monitoring. Robertson was to wear a GPS ankle bracelet, had a 8pm - 6am curfew, and only live at an approved address. He was also to stay away from any parks or other areas children are likely to frequent. In the months leading up to Blessie's murder, Robertson was arrested and appeared in court three times for breaching his release conditions. Despite these breaches, he was not sent back to prison. Robertson also attended two more court hearings, brought by the Corrections Department, asking for further extensions of the supervision orders. These further extensions were granted, so the question is, why did none of these provisions save the life of Blessie Gotingco? Just this week, a governmental inquiry found that neither NZ Corrections, nor the NZ Police was responsible in any way, for Blessie's death. Her husband disagrees, and would like to see these authorities be held to account for a crime that should not have happened, and could have been prevented.
"To My Fellow New Zealanders: We stand for Blessie -- a beloved wife, mother and grandmother to us her family. She is also a daughter, sister, aunt, friend, co-worker, colleague and a fellow New Zealander to the rest of us.
Blessie and I and our three children left our family home in the Philippines and moved to New Zealand in 2004, confident that our adopted country was a safe and beautiful place to live in. We settled on the North Shore of Auckland, believing it was an ideal place to raise a family and lead a happy comfortable life. We were so wrong.
We lost our beautiful Blessie at the hands of an evil person who was supposed to be under strict monitoring in the community by authorities to whom we have entrusted our lives for protection. The Government, particularly the Department of Corrections has given a new meaning to ineptitude and stupidity. The Government sounded the death knell for Blessie by failing miserably to deliver the primary role of governance which is to ensure its citizens are safe and secure from the scum of society. Its decision to put a sadistic, unreformed criminal in our neighbourhood sealed the fate of our much-loved Blessie. It was like putting a snake in a hen house.
The Corrections Department knew all along based on their records that this monster would reoffend and yet it did not lift a finger even when public safety was sure to be compromised. Highlighting their ineptness, this pure and unadulterated evil was never properly monitored to stop him from committing this very heinous crime. The department knew all along that it would just be a matter of time before he committed another crime. And yet they continue to add insult to our injury by claiming that they have exceeded standards in their management of this hardened criminal. For us, hearing these pronouncements is like rubbing salt to our raw wounds. What has happened is very unchristian. How can this dastardly act happen in a country supposedly founded and built on Christian values?
It is of public record how our beloved Blessie was brutally taken from us. What has happened to us is the worst that can happen to any family. While it is our fervent hope that no other family will experience the horror and tragedy that we have gone through, there is no guarantee unless we get our acts together and push for relevant changes in the Corrections Department and the so called justice system as a whole.
We are now facing the biggest challenge of our life by considering filing a civil case against the Department of Corrections for the wrongful death of my wife, our beloved Blessie. It's tough enough, and the Government is not providing us with legal assistance -- a sad irony considering that they are all too happy paying for the legal expenses of Blessie's murderer. In fact, the Government has been overly generous in accommodating this criminal, with sky’s the limit to all his extravagant legal spending.
We are hoping that the good people of New Zealand will once again stand with us by donating towards our costs. We are going to undertake our own review of the mismanagement/non-monitoring of "evil" which enabled him to take our Blessie. We our counting on your help, even if it is only $1, it will help us expose the sham that is the management of sex offenders in New Zealand. We need to put a stop to this vicious cycle of ineptness and stupidity in the justice system. We firmly believe that a civil case against the Department of Corrections is our only option and a worthy course of action. Together let us show them the power to the people. Never again! We all deserve better.