A P100,000 bounty is now up for the arrest of the person tagged in the brutal murder of five people, including three minors, in this city Sunday afternoon.
Baguio City Police Office OIC-Director Rolando Miranda said the suspect, Philip Tolentino Avino, was identified by a key witness, an employee in the eatery owned by the apartment owner, who was also a former live-in partner of the alleged suspect.
The victims of the massacre were found dead, with blood splattered on the floor of their apartment located at the fourth floor of Chan Building, 3rd Kayang Street in Barangay Kayang, Hilltop.
by the mother of the two victims Vilma Nociete.
One of the victims was identified by police as Jackelyn Kale Marquez Nociete, 19 years old, Saint Louis University student, who sustained 18 stab wounds.
Jackelyn Kale, together with her nine-year-old brother Joey Marquez Nociete Jr., sustained 14 stab wounds, resulting in their death. Their househelp, Jonalyn Lozano, also sustained 12 stab wounds.
Also pronounced dead on arrival at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) were playmates of the nine-year-old boy Joey who were identified as Dave John de Guzman and Raymond Del Mundo, both eight years old.
Dave John sustained eight stab wounds, while Raymond had five stab wounds.
Initial investigation revealed that the apartment lessee, Vilma, who is also the mother of the two victims, received a text message from Jackelyn Kale around 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., informing her they have a visitor looking for their father, Joey Nociete Sr.
When Vilma tried calling back her daughter to ask about the person looking for her husband, nobody was already answering the phone, prompting her to go back to their rented unit.
Upon arriving at their rented unit, Vilma knocked several times at the door and tried reaching the cellphone of her daughter to no avail.
Worried, she decided to ask the building owner for the duplicate key of the unit. Upon entering the apartment together with another companion, she saw her househelper Lozano bloodied and lifeless on the floor together with the two playmates of her son who were also unconsciously lying in their pool of blood.
Vilma said she shouted for help until neighbors came to rush the victims to the BGHMC. However, all victims were pronounced dead on arrival due to multiple stab wounds and loss of blood.
Acting police chief Miranda said there was no let-up in their operation, resulting in the immediate identification of the suspect, who is now on the run.
Miranda said they identified the suspect after material and testimonial evidences, including statements from a key witness who was a cook at the eatery of the victim’s family.
He said a shirt recovered in the apartment and other pieces of evidence also pointed to Avino as the person responsible for the crime, adding that the suspect was able to change his bloodied shirt and short pants, which he allegedly left at the crime scene.
Neighbors of the victims also claimed that the shirt left at the crime scene was that of the then still unidentified man who was knocking at the Nociete’s door in the afternoon of April 6.
Miranda also disclosed the possibility that the suspect is known to the family, as no signs of forcible entry was seen in the crime scene.
According to Miranda, the key witness said she was able to identify the bloodied shorts and belt recovered from the crime scene as that of her former live-in partner's.
The police chief said the key witness was taken in as a cook at the family’s eatery and was adopted as part the Nociete family after she separated from the suspect.
“The witness was the main target of the suspect as he was not amenable to their break-up,” he added.
Based on intelligence reports, the suspect is currently in Cubao, Quezon City. There were also reports reaching the city’s top cop that the suspect is in Malolos, Bulacan.
Mayor Mauricio Domogan, who was alarmed with the incident, offered a P100,000 bounty to anyone who can pinpoint the whereabouts of the suspect.
“If anyone who can lead to the arrest, the BCPO and Mayor Domogan will give the reward to give justice to the victims and their families,” acting police chief Miranda said.
He added that they are not closing their doors on the possibility that the suspect was also under the influence of prohibited drugs when he committed the crime.
Miranda said anybody who has information about the suspect's whereabouts can contact his number at 09178281990, adding that a police manhunt is ongoing.
Meanwhile, Mayor Domogan raised during Monday's flag raising ceremony the alarm on the increasing heinous crimes happening in the city in the past week.
He also expressed worry on crimes against properties and persons that have escalated in the past month.
Domogan said heinous crimes, such as the recent shooting incident involving a taxi driver and the massacre involving the Noceiete family, do not usually happen in the city.
Miranda, however, downplayed this, as he reported a decrease in the city’s crime rate in the past month compared to the previous months before he assumed office.
Miranda’s assumption into office at the BCPO was recently met with controversy after Mayor Domogan questioned his appointment by Police Regional Office (PRO)-Cordillera Director Isagani Nerez, cutting short the term of his predecessor Senior Superintendent Jesus Cambay.
Domogan earlier challenged Nerez to immediately move the Philippine National Police (PNP) directorate in Camp Crame for the submission of names of five eligible policemen to assume as the city director of the BCPO.
This, as he said, the city mayor has the sole option of choosing the police chief based on recommendations given him by the PNP headquarters. (Sun.Star Baguio/Sunnex)