Another suspect in Jay Jasper Santoninio case found dead

MALAYBALAY CITY | BUKIDNON NEWS | CRIME | CONTROVERSIAL – Ever since I flew back from Manila a few days ago, this was one of the most talked about things here in my neck of the woods. Apparently, one of the alleged suspects in the killing of Jay Jasper Santoninio, a young Bukidnon State University teacher, was found dead along the proposed diversion road in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon. The body of alleged suspect Michael Payangga was found alongside the dead body of a certain Joshua Corona.

Malaybalay City Police Chief Edwin Meneses told Bukidnon Online that they believe both Payangga and Corona were murdered. The hands and feet of the bodies were allegedly tied together.

Santoninio was slain last November 18, 2010. Not only was he robbed but the BSU BAIT teacher was also stabbed 12 times. Suspects stole his ATM card, Apple iPod, mobile phone and some cash. Suspects also allegedly hacked him on the neck and other parts of his body.

A “Justice for Jay” Facebook Page was set up following the crime. A lot of students and concerned citizens also clamored for justice. “Where is the Old Malaybalay? Will we even feel safe again?” was the general sentiment of many. Open letters such as THIS ONE as well as video-tributes were made and distributed all over the Internet.

One of the suspects, Michael Abellanosa, was arrested by NBI agents last year. Read this related article. Based on Abellanosa’s account of what happened, this was what happened the night they killed Santoninio. Abellanosa was 17 years old at the time of his capture; hence, a minor. However, police said that the robbery with homicide case filed against him may still move forward because Abellanosa has allegedly been arrested at least 10 times already.

The Santoninio case was and still is a controversial issue particularly in the City of Malaybalay. Not only have there been calls for beefed up security (the Malaybalay City Council has approved proposals to purchase additional police vehicles and increase the number of local policemen), but residents themselves have started becoming more vigilant and observant of the newly-elected government officials.

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