Taguig police continue probe on death of 2 Signal Village students

The Taguig police will continue its investigation into the death of two female students inside the Signal Village National High School (SVNHS) last Nov. 10. 

Students Irish Sheen Manalo, 13, and Mary Nicole Picar, 15, were found dead at about 11 p.m. inside the Girls Scout Mini Office on the third floor of Magsaysay Building of SVNHS in Barangay Central Signal, Taguig. 

Manalo_picar3B.jpgStudents Irish Sheen Manalo (left) and Mary Nicole Picar (Photo from Rhea Manalo's Facebook post, Instagram) 


The wake of Irish Sheen Manalo in Taguig (Photo from Sonji Elimos on Facebook)

The Taguig police and Southern Police District (SPD) earlier declared that autopsy results of the two students showed that no foul play was involved in their death. 

“Our investigator's findings supported by post-mortem exam by SPD forensic team found no foul play in the incident as of this time,” the SPD said on Nov. 13.

Post-mortem exam refers to autopsy, which “is a specialized surgical procedure used to determine the cause and manner of death,” according to the Yale School of Medicine website.   

Based on the autopsy done by the police’s forensic team, Manalo and Picar died of asphyxia by hanging. The two were also negative in pregnancy tests done. 

Manalo and Picar were friends and were members of the school’s Girl Scout organization. 

“Asphyxiation is when your body doesn’t get enough oxygen. Asphyxiation affects how you breathe. It may cause you to pass out (unconsciousness). It can also cause death,” according to the Cleveland Clinic website. 

Col. Robert Baesa, Taguig police chief, said they will continue with their investigation, talking to people who knew Manalo and Picar, and about the incident. He said they are waiting for the toxicology report about Manalo and Picar. 

“Forensic toxicology is the analysis of biological samples for the presence of toxins, including drugs. The toxicology report can provide key information as to the type of substances present in an individual and if the amount of those substances is consistent with a therapeutic dosage or is above a harmful level,” according to the US Department of Justice's National Institute of Justice website. 

It added, “These results can be used to make inferences when determining a substance's potential effect on an individual's death, illness, or mental or physical impairment.” 

A report by the Taguig police stated that a witness, identified as Danielle, 16, a student, said Manalo and Picar were last seen at about 7:45 p.m. on Nov. 10 after they told her they went home. 

However, it was learned through their Messenger group that the two did not go home. Danielle immediately searched for the victims and found their bodies hanging with a rope tied around their necks and attached to a steel grill in the Girls Scout office. The witness informed the security guards who reported the incident to the Taguig police. 

Manalo, born in 2009, would have turned 14 last Nov. 16. 

“Although the time we spent as a family in our section was not for long, the love we have for you will always remain. the memories that we had made will always continue to live in our hearts. We love you so much Irish,” according to a Facebook post by Manalo’s classmates in SVNHS Section 8-Gold. 

The Schools Division Office of Taguig and Pateros (SDO TaPat) issued a statement last Nov. 11 to say that it “mourns the loss of our dearly departed learners of Signal Village National High School. The sudden loss of life in a tragic way has shaken our core. Our sincerest sympathies to the families.”

“SDO TaPat has been cooperating with PNP Taguig City for the swift result of the investigation in relation to this incident. Rest assured that SDO TaPat has been closely coordinating with LGU Taguig City, along with DepEd NCR and the Central Office, for intervention programs such as Psychological First Aid among teachers, learners, and non – teaching personnel of the school concerned beginning on Monday, November 13, 2023,” it said. 

It added, “This office also commits to intensify its efforts to closely monitor all schools and carry out preventive measures for this tragic incident not to happen again with the support of our partners.”