By Minka Klaudia Tiangco
Those who were close to 23-year-old Jaybee Castor would describe him as a true “family man.” In fact, he was so close to his family that he had tattoos of the names of his parents and the faces of two of his three children on his body.
His partner, however, never imagined that these same tattoos would be used to identify his corpse which was found dumped in a secluded area in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan on July 6, a few weeks after he was abducted in his home in Caloocan City.
The autopsy report showed that Castor suffered from three gunshot wounds on his head and ligature marks around his neck and ankles. According to a police report, seven sachets of suspected shabu and a sign accusing Castor of being a drug addict and a thief were found beside his corpse.
But his partner denied these accusations and stressed that they did not see any piece of evidence in the pictures they were sent.
Castor lived in an alley in Caloocan dubbed “Patayan Street” by residents due to the number of killings in the area.
One of those who were killed three years ago was 17-year-old Michael Dela Cruz who was Castor’s childhood friend.
Castor’s partner, who requested anonymity, recalled that they were having dinner with their children—aged five years old, three years old, and nine months old—and Castor’s father and siblings at about 9 p.m. on June 25 when four armed men wearing masks and hoods went inside their house.
The men grabbed Castor, dragged him out of the house, and pushed him inside a white Ford Everest van before speeding away.
“Sinasabi nung asawa ko ‘Sir, sandali lang po’ (My partner was begging the men, ‘Sir, please, wait’),” Castor’s partner said. “Ang lakas ng ulan noon. Hinabol namin siya ng mga anak ko (It was raining hard then but my children and I chased after them).”
Castor’s brother, who followed the men, told them “Hindi na makatao ‘yang ginagawa niyo (What you are doing is inhumane).” But the assailants only pushed him aside and said “Umalis na kayo dito, kung hindi, babarilin namin kayo (Leave this place or we will shoot you).”
Castor’s sister immediately went to the police for assistance after the incident, but the policemen said her brother can only be considered a missing person if he is not found after 24 hours.
The incident left Castor’s partner and his eldest son traumatized. Every time the five-year-old boy saw a white car, he would chase it down, hoping that his father was inside. Castor’s partner would flinch whenever she would hear keys unlocking a door and see white vans and motorcycles, remembering the men who took away her partner. Still, they continued their search.
Three days later, they came to the Caloocan City Police Station for help but the policemen told them that they should not write a blotter report until they have searched in Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela, and Quezon City, Castor’s partner said.
After two weeks of searching, Castor’s partner saw a Facebook post by the San Jose Del Monte Police Station dated July 5 which showed a body with Castor’s tattoos.
The next day, they went to Bulacan to take Castor’s body back home. They claimed his body at Faith Funeral Services and on July 8, he was laid to his final resting place at the Manila North Cemetery.
“Gusto ko na mabigyan siya ng hustisya, pero wag muna ngayon. Nanganganib pa ang mga buhay namin. Natatakot pa ako (I want him to receive justice for what happened, but not now. Our lives are still in danger. I’m still afraid),” Castor’s partner said.