I have covered numerous murder incidents and similar crimes. But I encountered a curious case over the weekend: the death of 16-year-old Jerico Riano Santos whose wake was merely in a sidewalk in Barangay Tanong, Malabon City. Days after I covered the story, it still disturbs me.
He sustained two gunshots in the head and had signs of physical assault. He was also a minor.
I took this picture above last Saturday, November 8. Less than 24 hours before, Jerico was still alive and well. The mystery started at around 11 o’clock in the evening last Friday (November 7) when men barged in his home.
Jerico was living with his older sister Matet and her partner. According to Matet, the men were barangay tanods and even intoxicated. Without showing any documents, they forced their way inside and began searching for illegal drugs and similar paraphernalia.
They found nothing but kakanin (rice cakes). Afterwards, the men allegedly took their other valuables such as gadgets and money. They also brought Jerico, Matet and her partner with them.
They also left behind Matet’s 9-month-old child alone in their ransacked home.
According to the elder sister Matet, the men took them to the house of the barangay captain Julian Buenaventura. Then they separated her from his brother Jerico to undergo a medical evaluation.
She last saw his brother alive in that house.
After less than an hour, Matet returned and heard the radio conversations of the barangay men. They discovered the corpse of a dead boy lying in the street. It was Jerico.
To sum it up:
- he was still alive when they separated
- he was reportedly in the house of the barangay captain
- in less than an hour, he was dead in a nearby street
Up to this day, the family is still clueless how to seek justice for their loved one. Her mother, Vilma Santos, told me the police could not advance the case because they don’t have any witnesses. But in the following days, they were able to file the case and are just waiting for a subpoena.
A few questions:
- If this incident is true, do barangay officials have the authority to conduct house searches and arrests?
- Are they allowed to do this even if they don’t have the proper documents?
- What can the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) do for this case?
- Can the family seek the help of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)?
Attempts to reach the side of the barangay officials are unsuccessful so far. They are not in the office when we tried to get their side. But this page is open for their inputs.
For the full details, here was my 24 Oras report for reference.
[Entry 56, The SubSelfie Blog]
About the Author:
Bam Alegre is the founder of SubSelfie.com and writes from time to time as a guest contributor. He is a News Reporter for GMA News (2012) and an Instructor for the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of the East (2015). He was also part of the team that won GMA News the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award for the news coverage of super typhoon Yolanda (2013). Previously, he worked behind the scenes as a Segment Producer for State of the Nation with Jessica Soho and 24 Oras (2009-2012). He is also the vocalist, pianist and guitarist of the band No Parking (2005). BA Broadcast Communication 2007, UP Diliman. Read more of his articles here.