By Zaldy Comanda
BAGUIO CITY – Asphyxia due to hanging, and not suicide as claimed, was the cause of the death of a seven-year-old boy, who was left by his mother under the take of her sister.
Death by suicide was initially claimed to be the cause of the boy’s death by his aunt Lolly Ann Dapilog, who found the victim unconscious and hanging from the window grill of their house with a scarf around his neck in Barangay Ambiong here on May 30.
The boy, son of an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) currently in Hong Kong, was rushed to the hospital where he died a day later.
But Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) Director Col. Allen Rae Co said that policemen, who initially responded to the alleged suicide incident, noted that the boy bore several contusions on different parts of his body.
According to Co, this made the policemen doubt the aunt’s story that the boy’s death was a case of suicide.
“Mga pasa sa iba’t ibang parte ng katawan ng bitktima ang nakita ng doktor at pulisya na nagsagawa ng imbestigasyon sa Notre Dame Hospital. (The police and the doctors at the hospital saw contusions on different parts of the body of the boy,” Co said.
And in a recent television interview, Co averred the circumstances in which the boy was discovered showed that he could have not hung himself from the window grill with a scarp which was made of flimsy material.
“That scarp would have easily snapped,” he said.
An autopsy conducted by Police Major Dr. Reynaldo Dave, Jr. of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory found that the boy’s cause of death was “asphyxia due to strangulation”.
“It appears that the spouses (the aunt and uncle of the deceased) tried to mislead the police into believing that the incident was a case of suicide,” Co said.
The Baguio Police chief also pointed out that Dapilog even refused to have the boy autopsied.
Co said this further fueled the suspicions on the part of investigators, who went on to conduct a more in-depth and full-blown criminal investigation.
Dapilog and her relatives eventually agreed to have the remains of the boy autopsied last June 1.
However, later that day, the aunt, aided by two men identified as Marcelino Walang and Wenzel Duccog, tried to surreptitiously transport the boy’s remains to Banaue, Ifugao, via the Ambuklao Road.
But while passing the Ambuklao Road in Bokod, Benguet, they were intercepted by members of Bokod Municipal Police Station, who were manning a checkpoint, because they could not present any travel pass and permit to transport cadaver duly issued by the City of Baguio.
But due to humanitarian consideration, they were allowed to pass the checkpoint on condition that they sign an undertaking that they will subject the cadaver to autopsy upon their arrival in Ifugao.
On June 4, the scheduled burial, police did an autopsy on the cadaver on orders of Ifugao Provincial Prosecutor Marvin Nangayawan whose assistance was sought by the BCPO through the intervention of the Prosecutor’s Office of Baguio City
Co said a case for violation of Republic Act 7610, or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act, will be filed against Lolly Ann and her husband Efren. Two other relatives will be facing charges for obstruction of justice.