‘I remembered my firstborn, Maynard, I will never see him again’
MANILA, Philippines – One Tuesday in November, Maynard Allan Manalo joked on Facebook that only good looking girls and boys were getting killed lately. He was fatally shot himself within the hour.
Maynard, 17, was shot by masked riding-in-tandem men on November 14 in a street near his home in Hagdang Bato, Barangay Pembo, Makati City. He was rushed to the Ospital ng Makati and was declared dead after midnight.
Six days later, on November 20, the the Makati City Police arrested the suspects in his killing, after the same men attempted to kill a former cop 3 days after Maynard was shot.
Barangay officials in Pembo claim that the suspects – indentified as JR Talangan alias “Nonoy Pating,” 21; John Patrick Baterna Orias, 20; and Jonathan Lelis Cervano, 24 – have all been previously involved in robberies and other petty crimes in Makati since they were teenagers.
“They started out doing petty crimes, and now that they’ve grown up they’re already killers,” a police officer stationed in the vicinity, and who refused to be named, told Rappler.
While the arrest of the suspects in Maynard’s killing has brought a sense of justice to Maryan Manalo, the relief is only temporary for the bereaved mother.
“This morning, when I woke up and saw mothers bringing their sons to school, I couldn’t help but tear up,” Maryan recalled last week. “I remembered my firstborn, Maynard. I will never see him again no matter what happens.”
Maynard is the eldest of 6 children of the single mom, who raised each of them by working as a canteen helper and doing odd jobs for extra money.
Maryan had always had a soft spot for Maynard, him being her firstborn. “He was a mama’s boy,” Maryan said. “Everything he did, he would consult me first. ‘Mama, what do you think? Mama, is this okay?’”
Maynard had a childlike demeanor even when he was already a teenager. Often he would ask his mother to clean his ears, like how she did when he was a small boy.
“I would tell him that he’s too old for it, but he would go on and lie on my lap to have his ears cleaned,” Maryan recalled. “I would miss his habits and mannerisms – how he would bite his nails until it turned brittle. He was just like me.”
Being the eldest, Maynard also helped raise the family by signing up for occasional bookings of a catering company. “He knew how hard it was for me to raise them alone, so he didn't add any more burden,” Maryan said.
Maynard, who was in senior high school at the University of Makati, didn’t always go to school with allowance. But the boy never made it a problem for his mother as he had always tried to get by on his own. Sometimes, he would leave for school earlier so he could drop by his classmates’ house, where could be invited to eat. Often, he would also volunteer to do errands for neighbors in exchange for money.
“He was very clever with his ways to get by. Madiskarte (Resourceful). A lot of people know what kind of life we have, so they were always generous to him,” Maryan added.
Makati’s notorious boys
It was for these same reasons that the killing of the all-around nice guy of Pembo came as a shock to the whole community. Even as the killers have been caught, the motive remains a puzzle to the family.
Maryan confirmed that she was not familiar to the identified suspects. “I still can’t think of their possible reason for killing my son. I’m sure it was [a case of] mistaken identity because his life was only spent in school, DOTA, basketball – like many other teenagers. Not once was I ever called to school for his behavior.”
Yet, the suspects themselves admitted to Makati City Police that their target was indeed the 17-year-old boy. Chief Superintendent Gerry Umayao told Rappler that the suspects’ claimed there was conflict between their group and the teenager. The group had not given details, however.
Umayao also confirmed that the suspects admitted to robbery and carnapping as their livelihood. They are detained at the Makati City Police Station, facing charges of murder, frustrated murder, illegal possession of firearms, and motorcycle carnapping. – Rappler.com