June 23, 2024

The Baguio City Police Office has filed multiple criminal charges, including murder, against the guardians who allegedly concealed as suicide the death of a seven-year-old inside an apartment in Aurora Hill, Baguio City.

BCPO Director Allen Rae Co said its investigation team led by Maj. Pablo Nead and legal officer Atty. Ford Tuazon filed at the City Prosecutor’s Office on June 10 a case for murder and violation of Section 10 of Republic Act 7610, or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act against spouses Loly Ann Duccog Dalipog and Efren Uyammi Dalipog, both residents of Purok 3, Ambiong, Aurora Hill.

Charges for obstruction of justice and violation of RA 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act have also been filed against the spouses along with Wenzel Duccog and Marcelino Walang.  

The filing of the cases is in relation to the alleged death by suicide involving a seven-year-old child, who was under the care of the Dalipog spouses and who after thorough investigation, was found out to have been repeatedly maltreated and strangled resulting to his death. 

Co said the death of the child, who was initially reported to the police to have died by suicide afternoon of May 30, became suspicious after a follow-up medical checkup on the victim revealed bruises on the different parts of the body and due to the alleged attempt of the guardians to hide the cause of death and deceiving the police into allowing them to bring the child’s remains to Banaue, Ifugao.

Based on investigation, the victim was staying with his aunt and guardian, Loly Ann, in a rented apartment in Ambiong. The child’s mother, who is Dalipog’s sister, works in Hong Kong.

According to Dalipog, she discovered the victim unconscious and hanged inside a room in the apartment. A scarf was looped around the victim’s neck and the other end was tied on the window grills. The victim was rushed to the hospital but died the following day.

Doubts arose when investigators, who conducted follow-up at the Notre Dame Hospital, and the attending physician, discovered bruises, abrasions, and hematoma on the different parts of the victim’s body.

Further  suspicions arose and prompted a full-blown investigation when Dalipog and her relatives refused and insisted on waiving the conduct of autopsy after investigators informed them of the injuries found on the child’s body and to rule out the possibility of foul play.

Police said Dalipog and her relatives on June 1 have agreed to the autopsy but in the afternoon of same date, Dalipog with help of Marcelino Walang and Wenzel Duccog transported the child’s remains to Banaue via Ambuklao Road. They were stopped in Bokod by the municipal police manning the checkpoint since they cannot present a travel pass and permit to transport cadaver from the city government of Baguio.

They were later allowed to pass for humanitarian considerations and after Dalipog and her companions executed an undertaking allowing autopsy. However, they later refused to honor the undertaking and insisted on burying the victim on June 4.

The BCPO immediately sought the intervention of the Offices of the Prosecutor of Baguio City and Ifugao, which led to the issuance of an autopsy order by Ifugao Provincial Prosecutor Marvin Nangayawan.

The BCPO Crime Laboratory has conducted the autopsy, which revealed the cause of death of the victim as asphyxia due to strangulation.

Investigators also found witnesses who belied the statements of Dalipog and her husband Efren, as to what happened before the body of the victim was discovered.

“It appears that the spouses Dalipog tried to mislead this office into believing that the incident is a case of suicide,” Co said.

He added the police are working on the theory that there was a pattern of abuse and there was no intent to kill the victim, but the guardian may have gone too far and later tried to make the death appear as a suicide case. – Hanna C. Lacsamana