On the early morning of September 7, 2013, Kae was just a few steps away from her house when she was held at gunpoint by unknown men. She was taken to her car where the men drove her to Silang, Cavite. Kae died after being strangled using her laptop’s cable charger and sustained multiple stab wounds. Her body was discovered five hours later under a bridge.
The murder of Kae Davantes was a high-profile case that it even reached former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. He called for a prompt investigation for the case, but there wouldn’t be any leads or strong evidence until 6 years later. Four men were convicted for the murder of Kae after one of the men, the neophyte of the group, casually told the story about how they killed Kae. Despite the slow progress in attaining justice for her death, her family remained hopeful during the investigations.
Stroke of Luck
In 2013, Kristelle “Kae” Davantes was a 25-year-old advertising manager when she was taken away from her home, brutally killed, then thrown off a bridge. At the time, she was taking up her master’s degree wherein she had just one thesis defense away from its completion. She was also engaged to be married the following year.
Kae was at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig with her friends the night before her death. The last time she was heard of was around 1 in the morning on September 7, 2013 as she drove back to her home in Las Pinas.
“Na-tsamba lang” or “it was just a stroke of luck” that Kae ended up being the victim of such a crime. She was gagged and stabbed with a P20 knife because she saw the face of one of the perpetrators.
So far, the authorities had no leads as to who the perpetrators were nor did they have an idea of what the motive was behind Kae’s death. Her car, a Toyota Altis, remained missing for a while until it was found in Las Pinas. Her death made headlines throughout the country, and even the president himself at the time had offered a P2-million reward for any information that will lead to Kae’s killers.
Identifying the Suspects
A man named Rex played a significant role in bringing answers and justice to Kae’s murder. Elena, Rex’s girlfriend, was at the house of 19-year-old Samuel Decimo on September 8, 2013—the day after Kae’s death. Present in the house was Anita, the mother of Annie, Samuel’s live-in partner.
It was Anita who casually told Elena about how Samuel held up a girl and killed her the night before. During dinner, Samuel would also casually bring up the same story. Elena shared with Rex and her mother what she just heard. This prompted Rex to go to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to report Samuel’s crime.
Reenactment of the Crime
Samuel was cooperative throughout the investigation and even promised that he would help the NBI. On September 25, along with the NBI, Samuel was brought to the crime scenes where he reenacted the abduction and killing of Kae as a way to verify his statements.
According to Samuel, he was unsure as to whether or not Kae was still alive when they threw her off the bridge. The said bridge was an hour away from Las Pinas. The residents of Moonwalk Village, where Kae lived, said that they heard dogs barking outside at past 2 in the morning.
According to Reggie Diel, one of the men accused of killing Kae, on September 7, 2013, he and the other perpetrators were looking for a jeepney to rob when they chanced upon Kae who was about to enter her home. She was dragged inside her car as one of the men drove it to Tagaytay. While inside the car, Kae was stabbed in the neck. Reggie, who was in another car and had been following Kae’s, said that her body was thrown off a bridge in Silang, Cavite.
"Just a Holdup"
Samuel claimed he and his cohorts were just supposed to rob someone that particular night and had no intention to kill.
"Just a holdup, that’s all. We were really broke," he said. "We were merely going around looking for a target that night. And then, we just saw her alone getting out of her car to open the gate. We quickly gagged her mouth, that's why she wasn’t able to scream."
They were able to cruise around Moonwalk Village as their car had a sticker to enter the village. The car, suspected to be a stolen vehicle, was driven by Jomar Pepito whose girlfriend lived in another village in Las Pinas where Kae’s car would eventually be found. The men confessed that they tried to burn the car in order to cover their tracks, but failed to do so successfully.
According to Reggie, it was Jomar who spotted Kae after failing to find a jeepney to rob. Jorek Evangelista and another suspect, Baser Manalang, held Kae at gunpoint then dragged her to her car. It was also Jomar who suggested that they kill Kae as she had already seen his face; however, Reggie objected to the idea.
Samuel and Jomar were in Kae’s car as they drove to Silang, Cavite. While inside the car that followed Kae’s, Reggie heard a loud noise when Kae was thrown off the bridge. They left with her laptop and cell phones to be sold in Alabang as well as cash.
According to the authorities, based on the evidence, the intent of the group was to rob Kae, and the taking of her car and killing her was due to being identified.
Trial and Verdict
According to Samuel’s lawyer, Marc Anthony Patriarca, he hoped that Samuel’s cooperation to reenact the crimes would downgrade his charges. Samuel and five others were facing carnapping and robbery with homicide charges.
According to the law, whenever homicide has been committed by reason of or on the occasion of robbery, all those who took part as principals in the robbery will also be held guilty as principals of robbery with homicide although they did not take part in the homicide, unless it appears that they sought to prevent the killing.
Reggie was unable to pinpoint the real killer of Kae, but based on the law, the four men’s participation in the robbery, which led to homicide, have made them guilty of robbery with homicide.
“The act of one was the act of all.” Another suspect claimed that Samuel was the mastermind of Kae’s murder; which the latter denied. Samuel denied that he suggested killing Kae as well.
Samuel initially made a not guilty plea, but later changed it after admitting his guilt. Reggie, who has become a state witness, claimed that he disagreed with the plan to kill Kae.
The other men involved, Jomar Pepito, Lloyd Benedict Enriquez, and Jorek Evangelista, denied killing Kae. However, they admitted that they were present when Kae was taken to her car to be driven away from her home, but they emphasized that they were not active participants.
A Las Pinas court was finally able to convict four men for the murder of Kae—6 years after her death. The Las Pinas Regional Trial Court Branch 253 found the men guilty of robbery with homicide. They were sentenced to reclusion perpetua and had to pay Kae’s family P125,000 in indemnity and damages.
Incomplete Family Reunion
Kae’s parents, Peddy and Beth Davantes, were overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) whose supposed happy reunion with the rest of their family turned out to be a grim one as they laid their daughter to rest.
Samuel has since asked forgiveness from Kae’s family, hoping that they would understand his situation. However, that would be a difficult feat for the family. The family has accepted the death of Kae, but their anger remains because of her gruesome death.
"I’m crying because we’re incomplete now. It’s not the same as before," Peddy said. "Punish who deserves to be punished. I just tell the Lord, give me a clear heart. Take the anger away. I’m angry because of what they did to her."
When further information regarding their daughter’s case became known, the family was in a state of mixed emotions as they were unsure whether or not the case would finally progress. They remained hopeful in the investigations as the discoveries, especially regarding Samuel, would bring them closer to justice.
READ: The Notorious Assailants versus The Resolute Victim: Maggie Dela Riva’s Fight for Justice article on PH Murder Stories.
On August 6, 2008, just a few moments before celebrating her 23rd birthday, heading home from a gig through a jeepney passing Imelda Avenue in Cainta, Rizal, a thief gunned Tara Santelices.
When the robber declared a hold-up and ordered the passengers to give him their belongings, Tara resisted. The incident prompted the gunman to pull his trigger and shot the robbery victim in the forehead.
The jeepney driver remained on his usual itinerary, even grabbing other passengers, before bringing the victims to a medical facility unequipped for an emergency.
Joee Mejias, the last friend who was with her, immediately took a taxi to rush her to Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center in Marikina City.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of difficulties worldwide. Aside from health reasons, financial and political instability is probably another impactful obstacle that the global health crisis has affected us throughout its existence. This led to increased crime rates, especially theft, robbery, online scams, and other related offenses.
In the Philippines, one would expect that the percentage of traditional crimes such as robbery, homicide, and murder would decrease due to government-imposed lockdowns. However, that has not been the case since the pandemic. Several gruesome crimes happened, particularlythe Merciless Murder of Fabel Pineda, the Gregorio Double-Murder case, the Killing of Winston Ragos, and several others.
A 49-year-old Filipina’s death in Burnaby, Canada sent shockwaves among the Filipinos in her community as she was killed by a 21-year-old and 15-year-old. Her burned remains would be discovered in Greentree Village Park, near a children’s playground. Her family, friends, and the rest of her community have been in mourning since her violent death.
“She did not deserve her fate,” said her longtime friend. Maria Cecilia Loreto, who often went by Mycel, was among the many hardworking Filipinos abroad, striving to attain a better life. Through her best efforts, she was able to bring her family to Canada.
However, she would not be able to spend any more time with them as her life was gruesomely taken away by two men. It was believed that the victim and suspects knew each other, and that the incident was planned.
At the peak of the snap presidential election, a group of disguised assassins tracked down around the square and along the snickets of San Jose, Antique, where the center of power in the province is located, and executed a dynamic and promising young leader of his time, Evelio B. Javier.
The incident was instrumental in overthrowing the dwindling Marcos dictatorship and sparked out the EDSA People Power Revolution a few days later.
Javier's death heated Visayan support for already overwhelming confetti propaganda from Manila and other parts of Luzon.
On May 11, 2021, 20-year-old British-Filipina Caroline Crouch was found dead in the attic of her own home in Glyka Nera, in Greece, after her husband, 33-year-old Babis Anagnostopoulos, initially claimed that three men barged inside their home, tied him up, tortured, and killed Caroline in front of their 11-month-old baby girl named Lydia, and stole £30,000 worth in cash and jewelry.
This case gained international attention due to an alleged robbing incident that included the heartless act of killing a woman in front of her family.
It makes us wonder how three men who overpowered Caroline's family of three would need to kill her if they only planned to rob them?
Nevertheless, the incident alarmed the Greek police, which exerted all of their efforts to discover what truly happened to Caroline Crouch.
Emmanuel Desalisa and his wife, Norma, reportedly had a deteriorating relationship due to constant, and often physical fights about infidelity. Emmanuel had long accused Norma of being with another man and that the child she was carrying was not his.
On the night before her death, the couple had yet another fight, and the following morning, Norma's lifeless body would be found hanging at the tree near their house. This would become a complex crime of parricide with unintentional abortion.
In the heart of the city of stars, where a productive and attractive lifestyle hub lies, also stands the street signages bearing the names of 21 Filipino boy scouts and three scout leaders whose dreams crashed half a century back.
On July 28, 1963, the delegation of the Philippines to the 11th Boy Scout World Jamboree were on their way to Marathon, Greece, when an aircraft of United Arab Airlines (now EgyptAir) dived in the Arabian Sea, nine nautical miles from Bombay, India.
The delegates took a KLM flight for Hong Kong to get a connecting flight going to Athens. The ill-fated plane catered 52 passengers and eight crew members, including the fallen scouts who were supposed to carry the country's banner in the international field.
Baguio City is known for being the summer capital of the Philippines when thousands of visitors from the lowlands and Manila take their annual journey to the city to cool off.
However, little did we know that one of the most gruesome crimes that happened in the country's special summer getaway would happen on August 15, 2018.
Rosario Baluyot: How the Failure to Protect a Child Victim of Sexual Abuse Paved the Way to Legislation Reforms Regarding Age of ConsentRead Now
In 1987, the story of Rosario Baluyot's abuse and torture at the hands of an Austrian physician sparked outrage all over the country. She lived in Olongapo, or what was known as "Sin City" back then due to rampant prostitution in the area.
It was on October 10, 1986, when Austrian physician, Heinrich Stefan Ritter, brought Rosario Baluyot and Jessie Ramirez, another child, to a hotel room in Olongapo. Ritter then inserted a foreign object inside Baluyot. The following day, Ritter gave Baluyot 300 pesos and Jessie 200 pesos.
Baluyot would eventually die from a severe infection in her cervix due to an electric vibrator stuck inside her vagina for over 7 months.
During the trial, because of the lack of proper documents to prove Baluyot’s age, as well as lack of evidence to link Ritter to her death, Ritter was acquitted.
The deadly drug war face and now policymaker Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa jeered at people who are "pushing for war" with China regarding the issue on the West Philippine Sea and yet are against the revival of the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program.
In a Commission on Appointments (CA) hearing, the former national police chief said, "Many people, young and old, want war with China. They blame the government for a very weak stance against China, and they want us to go into combat, but they do not want to undergo the ROTC program."
On his first year in the upper chamber, Dela Rosa filed a bill for a mandatory ROTC program for senior high school students in private and public schools. At the same time, five other more Senate bills are pushing for the same program. These measures, however, remain pending at the committee level.
The legislator seems to have disregarded University of Santo Tomas student Mark Welson Chua whose death became the basis of abolishing mandatory ROTC in 2002.
On February 26, 1991, the lifeless body of 33-year-old Julie Snodgrass was found inside her red pick-up truck on a dirt road in Angeles City, Pampanga, nearby the U.S. Air Force Base, where her husband, Joe Snodgrass, is a military man.
The victim was stabbed more than 40 times. Initially, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) thought that Julie Snodgrass's death was a politically motivated case.
At the time, several Americans had been killed in that location under the hands of the New People's Army (N.P.A.), the brute force of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
In 1991, as many as 615,000 Filipinos went abroad to work. One of them was Maricris Sioson, a 22-year-old girl who went to Japan. She studied modern dance in order to be accepted there as an entertainer.
Just several months later, her lifeless body was shipped back to the Philippines. Her death certificate indicated that her death was due to hepatitis. However, upon looking at her body in the coffin, her family discovered stab wounds and bruises on her body.
In her search for the proverbial "greener pasture," Sioson’s journey ended with her in the coffin. Her tragic story depicts how vulnerable Filipina overseas workers are especially in Japan’s entertainment industry and that the inaction of governments despite the medical evidence of abuse has left her case unsolved.
On April 23, 2012, a supposedly peaceful dismantling of a wet market left one dead and 40 injured people when the informal settlers of the Silverio Compound confronted the police along Sucat Road in Parañaque City.
The sole casualty was Arnel Leonor, a 19-year-old resident of the said residential compound lying on the payment with a fatal gunshot wound in the head. The police brought him to the nearest medical facility, but he was declared dead on arrival.
On August 3, 1999, a typhoon named Olga wreaked havoc all over Southeast Asia and the Korean Peninsula. In the Philippines, the typhoon caused heavy rains on Luzon Island, killing 160 lives and displaced 80,000 people.
In the Korean peninsula, 160 lives were taken by typhoon Olga in both North and South Korea. According to reports, the typhoon brought one of the heaviest rains recorded in Korea that cost $657 million in damages.
Aside from the information gained regarding typhoon Olga, the devastating storm caused one of the most catastrophic landslides in the province of Rizal, particularly the Cherry Hills Subdivision.
Cherry Hills Subdivision was located in Antipolo City, the capital of Rizal province. It was home to hundreds of families that purchased low-cost concrete houses.
Antipolo City is located on elevated terrain. It is famous among tourists that want to see the bright lights of Metro Manila from a scenic view. The province also is known for its pilgrimage sites and resorts. Some would say that Antipolo City is the "Tagaytay" of Rizal province.
At a wedding, it is the exchanging of vows between the bride and groom that is the most emotional part of the ceremony. As if they still didn’t know how much they love one another, they further profess their love, promising life together through thick and thin “til death do us part.” However, for one Filipina, this was prematurely fulfilled as it was her way out of a horrid, loveless marriage wherein she was physically abused and sexually exploited.
Cathy Bonesa Mae Deocades was a 24-year-old woman from General Santos City. In January 2011, she was found dead at her home in Gongju, South Chungcheong Province in South Korea. According to Korean reports, she committed suicide by hanging herself due to allegedly suffering abuse and forced prostitution by her Korean husband.
However, due to Cathy's family and friends' concerns over her welfare prior to her death, they suspected that foul play may have been involved in her death.
Frank Sinatra's "My Way" was blared from the loudspeakers as Air Force One began to roll on the tarmac after then-outgoing President Donald Trump and his family departed from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland after his four years in office. He left for a Florida trip to start his post-White House duties minutes before then-President-Elect Joe Biden was sworn into office.
The whole scene amused the CNN anchors who could not hold back their peals of laughter. Yahoo! describes the choice of song "on the nose," The Guardian calls it "painfully fitting," while Deadline names it "inevitable." Nevertheless, if Sinatra has his way, the music seemingly would not be linked with Trump at all, even if the former president used it before during his inaugural ball.
What is the Opposite of Being Nice? The Story Behind the Startling Murder of Michelle Rivera Nyce (2004)Read Now
On January 16, 2004, authorities in Hopewell Township, New Jersey, found a lifeless body belonging to a Filipina inside her Sports Utility Vehicle in the bottom of a ravine near her residence covered in snow during that time of the year. Initial investigations suggest that she was a victim of a foul-play made to look like an accident.
It is no secret that foreigners are attracted to Filipina women, particularly white males from the United States. Despite the almost perfect pairing between two distinct cultures, many assume that Filipino women who marry an American would go ahead and have better lives.
However, that does not seem to be the case with Michelle Rivera Nyce's gruesome killing in 2004. Her murder was one of the most sensationalized cases on the East Coast of the United States that involved having affairs, jealousy, blackmailing, and anything opposite to being nice.
Michelle Rivera Nyce was a 39-year-old Filipina woman who grew up in an impoverished region in her home country, particularly in Orion, Bataan. Due to the lack of opportunity to gain financially in the Philippines, Michelle found plenty of ways to escape her hardships at home. She also had six siblings.
By the time she was 19-years-of-age, social media was not a thing back then to meet other people. Instead, she posted personal ads of herself in a local newspaper. Through this means of meeting someone, Jonathan Nyce stumbled upon her advertisement and was quick to engage with her via mail.
In a year, both would exchange romantic letters and intimate phone calls with one another. Jonathan would eventually fall in love with Michelle despite the significant age gap and being far away from each other.
Things between the two have already been sketchy in the beginning. Before personally meeting, Jonathan and Michelle would send photographs of themselves aside from the love letters with each other. Though Jonathan, who was nearing 40-years-old at that time, would send younger and much more well-groomed photos of himself rather than his current photo, while Michelle would send out the best version of herself to further attract her foreign lover.
What was supposed to be a regular day turned into a horrific one that not only changed the lives of the families involved, but also, the relationship between the two countries.
Flor Contemplacion, seeking better opportunities in order to support her four children, went to Singapore as a domestic helper. She was tasked to clean the household and take care of her employer’s child. She would work from dawn to midnight. She did her responsibilities and was treated fairly by her employers. On May 4, 1991, after doing her morning duties, she was allowed to take some time off to visit another helper, fellow Filipino, Della Maga, as the latter needed her help regarding her things. However, instead of helping her out, she ended up killing not just Della, but the employer’s child as well.
She was convicted for the murder of her fellow Filipino domestic worker, Della Maga, and the 4-year-old son of Maga’s employer, Nicholas Huang. Both victims were found dead in the Huang residence wherein Della was strangled and Nicholas drowned. Flor was found guilty of the murders and was sentenced to death. She was executed by hanging on March 17, 1995.
Her case severely severed the bilateral diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Singapore which caused a sharp decline in investments and tourism.
Is it easier to leave your loved ones behind or stay at home while they are away?
According to statistics, almost 12.2 million Filipinos work abroad. They worked overseas because of the alarmingly high unemployment in our country - they want to ease the burden for their family.
It is also for greener pastures. They want to earn higher salaries to provide a better life and prosperous future for their family.
These are the reasons why Marlon Gamos traveled and worked a thousand miles away from his family. He makes sure to attend to his family's needs and ensure a stable job.
Unfortunately, upon returning to his mainland, he was shocked to learn from his relatives about his family's condition.
He never thought it was a joke. These words were the sentiment resented by a group of fishermen headed by Carlo Montehermozo, the fisherman who asked then-Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte during the 2016 presidential election debate on his stance on the West Philippine Sea after the president said his campaign promise to go to the disputed territories as a pure joke and called who believed him "stupid."
The 1990s in the Philippines is one of the most violent decades for gruesome crimes and killings. It featured various controversial and sensational cases that are still felt today.
Moreover, the provocative nature of such cases from the 90s is mixed with political ties and privileges. Making it seem like justice was not on the victim's side.
Examples of these sensational incidents are the Vizconde Massacre, the Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez Double Murder, and the Hultman-Chapman Double Murder that we will discuss later.
So, what do these three cases have in common? All have some sort of political-backing and privileges that ordinary crime doers do not possess.
Coming from a powerful family should not make one exempt from the law especially when they have done something wrong against others. They may use their power, influence, and connections to get away from what they have done, but when their victim, despite the traumatic events that happened to them, is unwavering and refusing to back down no matter what, all efforts by assailants will be all for naught.
Rape victims by such prominent people are silenced because the latter get to bribe their way out of the ordeal—that is, if they even get out of it alive in the first place. Such victims end up ashamed for something they did not ask for nor was it their fault, but the trajectory of their life will be changed forever. Some might never speak of such an incident ever again, afraid of the consequences especially when they’re up against powerful people, while some put on a fight for their virtue and do not back down from their assailants.
Hostage-taking incidents are listed as among the various threats endured by any individual in any locality, which sometimes end up bloody if not managed correctly.
Incidents similar to this menace usually make us think of how the government is unprepared, how they learn from their past mistakes, and how they will handle the crisis the next time it haunts them. Unfortunately, these thoughts remain ideal up to this date.
And while these thoughts continue to be ideal, unfortunately, innocent lives are taken out of this negligence. One of them is probably a college graduate by now if one fateful night did not happen.
On May 31, 2002, a supposedly typical day at the Philtranco Pasay City Bus Terminal turned wicked when a drug-crazed Diomedes Talbo suddenly took the four-year-old boy Dexter Balala and held him hostage with a 10-inch double-bladed knife to his neck.
We ring in the new year with fireworks and torotot to ward off evil spirits so that the coming year will be a great and prosperous one for all of us. Even before midnight, fireworks can already be heard in preparation for the main event. As soon as the clock strikes 12, people get to feast their eyes on the wonderful fireworks shows all over the country. The cacophony of fireworks everywhere is to bring as much luck as possible so that we can face the new year head-on.
However, amid what was supposed to be a joyous occasion, it became deadly as a councilman would end up being shot dead right in front of his family. What made things interesting was how the killer was caught on camera; thus, capturing the moment seconds before the victim’s death.
The chilling photo would end up being spread everywhere, which shows how anything can literally happen at any time… only this time, it was caught on camera, forever immortalized in a picture.
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