MANILA, Philippines – In a wake in Barangay Palingon-Tipas in Taguig City, a stray cat suddenly jumped on the casket and pounced on the chicks that had been placed on the glass panel. The cat swallowed the chicks whole, one after the other.
Myra Salonga seemed unfazed by the scene. She said would just buy more chicks to hopefully peck on the conscience of the killers of her son, Mark Lorenz Salonga.
Mark's death is a big question mark to his family and friends. He was shot on the head and nape in a dark street near his home in Palingon-Tipas village, on November 3. He was only 14.
No one in the close-knit community could think of any motive for Mark's murder. No one knows what really happened on that fateful night, except perhaps the teenager's 16-year old friend, Zeus Obog, possibly the last person to see him alive.
Mark's mother said she even saw Zeus before she found out her son was dead. Zeus went to Myra's house, asking for water. "He said he felt like vomiting," Myra recalled.
As of posting, Zeus had neither visited his friend's wake nor talked to the Salonga family. His sister claimed that he has not gone home.
A few minutes after Zeus went to her house, barangay officials asked Myra to go with them as "something bad" had happened. The scene that Myra would see in the next hour would go on perpetual instant replay in her head – her own son's crime scene.
Mark was face down on the street, kissing a pool of his own blood. "He was like a frog," Myra recalled. "He was in the darkest end of the street where no one would have seen him."
Residents in the area claimed they heard the boy begging for his life, as he cried until his last breath. "Have pity! Don't kill me!" he supposedly said.
Police Superintendent Alexander Santos of Taguig City Police scratched off illegal drugs as a possible motive of the murder.
Not the best kid in town
Myra is the first to admit that Mark, a Grade 5 student, was not the ideal son. At age 9, Mark started using shabu after a tricycle driver "friend" lured him into taking it. In the same year, he was brought to Camp Bagong Diwa for rehabilitation and had supposedly not used it since.
Drinking, however, soon became his vice. Myra recalled that Mark would usually drink with his friend, Zeus, after school.
But what Mark lacked in discipline, he made up for in his sweetness. Among Myra's 4 kids, Mark was the most generous with his affection. He was the type who hugged and kissed to show affection, especially to his mother. Most importantly for Myra, he was the easiest to order around.
"That's why I miss everything about him," Myra said. "I don't just miss one thing about him; I miss the whole him."
Mark's sweetness was not exclusive to his mother. When Mark died, his secret girlfriend surfaced. Bessy (not her real name), 15, said she and Mark had been in a mutual understanding "relationship" for over a year until Mark asked her to become his official girlfriend on his birthday in September.
A week before Mark was killed, Bessy was in her province to visit relatives. While her plan was to return to Taguig on November 5, she cut short her trip upon Mark's request.
"He told me [in jest] that if I don't come home soon, he would hide from me," Bessy said.
Little did Bessy know that her homecoming was perhaps for a deeper reason.
Till death do us part
Bessy came home on the night of All Souls Day, two days before Mark's death. She recalled the moment Mark saw her again: he hugged her tight, as if she had been gone too long.
"I only left for a week, but he hugged me like there was no tomorrow," Bessy said. "He said he missed me so much. It was weird but I did not think about it."
On the night of the killing, Mark sent Bessy a message that might have been his premonition, but which she unfortunately read a little too late.
A few minutes before a friend told Bessy the brutal incident, she read Mark's message sent only an hour before. "Don't leave me hanging, okay?" the message read.
But it was Mark who had left Bessy hanging. "He's unfair," Bessy said. "He asked me not to leave him and now he's the one who's left."
Myra Salonga shares a moment with her son
While Myra could not say if Mark knew the threat to his life, the mother was certain that he had not accepted his untimely death. His knitted brows and wrinkled face – far from the photos displayed on his casket – were proof of his anger, she said.
"He looks pissed from where he's supposedly resting," Myra said. "He still cannot accept what happened."
While Myra waits for Zeus to give her answers, she hopes that Mark himself would give her some peace of mind. "I whisper to him all the time, 'Show yourself to me, make yourself be felt,'" Myra said. "I want to know – who did this to you?"
Until her questions are answered, Myra vows to buy more chicks to put on top of her son's casket, and another one if the cat pounces on them again, until Mark's case is closed. – Rappler.com