SOCO: Deadly love

By: Korina Iledan, Multi-Media Producer

Posted at Feb 23 2012 04:48 PM | Updated as of Feb 28 2012 02:26 AM

“Nasa tamang edad na siya, 21 na siya, so alam na niya kung ano ang tama. Nag-se-serve din naman sa kanya as inspiration ‘yun eh, ‘di naman sinabi ‘pag nag-boyfriend, asawa mo na ‘yun.”

While other parents are strict about their daughters entering a relationship, 21-year-old Mizzielle Jamyka Gutierrez’s parents were very fond of her boyfriend, 19-year-old Kristoffer Von Moraleja. In fact, they felt that with Von around, Myka would always be safe.

“Panatag nga ang loob ko kasi nga usheret sila parehas so gabi na sila umuuwi, ang alam ko, si Von talaga ang naghahatid sa kanya hanggang dito sa’min ‘pag madaling araw,” Marie Jean says. “So panatag ang kalooban ko na may nagbabantay sa anak ko.”

Myka and Von’s love story began at the Cultural Center of the Philippines where they worked as usherettes. They became close friends. Almost every day, Von, who lives in Pasay City, would bring Myka to their home in Parañaque.

And then on November 2010, they officially became a couple.

A budding relationship. 21-year-old Myka Gutierrez and her boyfriend, Von Moraleja.

Von and Myka’s friend, Bea, became a witness to their relationship.

“Nung nag-start sila ni Myka, parang kay Myka na lang umiikot ang mundo niya,” Bea says. “Hindi na po naming siya nakakasama simula nang start na ligawan niya si Myka. Laging silang dalawa ang magkasama.”

It was evident to everyone—Von was deeply in love with Myka.

But after three months of dating, Myka’s family’s world was shattered.

On February 1, 2011, Marie Jean received a devasting news—something bad has happened to her daughter Myka and was in the hospital.

Their family rushed to the Pasay City General Hospital. When they arrived, their worst fears were confirmed.

“Pagbaba pa lang naming ng taxi, marami nang tao. Tanong ako nang tanong dun sa barangay kung anong nangyari, ayaw nilang magsalita,” Marie Jean says. “Lakad lang kami nang lakad hanggang sa dulo ng ospital. ‘Yun pala, nandun na si Myka sa morgue.”

Stabbed to death

At that moment, Marie Jean felt all the energy drain from her body.

“Na-shock ako kasi nakita ko ‘yung anak ko andun na sa dulo, hindi na siya ospital eh. Siyempre nakita mo nakatakip na ng kumot ‘di ba,” she recalls. “Nakakaawa, nakatihaya siya pero medyo nakadilat ang mga mata niya. Sa sobrang sakit siguro talagang putlang-putla siya. Hindi ko talaga tiningnan ‘yung pagkakasaksak sa anak ko. Talagang naka-focus lang ako sa mukha ni Myka.”

Based on post-mortem examination, Myka sustained 12 wounds on different parts of her body.

The victim. 21-year-old Myka Gutierrez.

“Sabi ko, hayop talaga [ang gumawa niyan], baka hindi lang labindalawang tama ang abutin niya ‘pag nagkita kami,” says Albert, Myka’s father. “Ang nasa isip ko, babawi ako, hahanapin ko talaga siya. Hindi pwede ‘yung para ka lang pumatay ng aso.”

But they were in for more shock. Later on, they would find out that their daughter’s killer is none other than the very person they trusted Myka’s life with—her boyfriend, Von.

Eyewitness accounts

During the course of their investigation, the authorities were able to talk to the two barangay tanod who brought Myka to the hospital.

“Ayon dun sa dalawang barangay tanod na nagbigay sa’min ng salaysay, meron silang meeting sa loob ng barangay hall,” PO2 Giovanni Arcinue of the Pasay PNP says. “Ngayon, dumating ‘yung anak ni Barangay Ex-O Moralea at sinabi niya na ‘Nag-away si Ate at si Kuya’. Tapos nun, umalis si Ex-O Moralea, pumunta sa bahay nila. Mga ilang minuto, bumalik at nanghihingi ng assistance at sinamahan naman ng dalawa sa loob ng bahay. ‘Yung biktima, duguan na at wala nang malay at dali dali namang pinabuhat ni Barangay Ex-O Moralea at sinakay ng tricycle.”

But when the authorities spoke with Barangay Ex-O, he couldn’t give any more details.

“Tinanong namin kung anong nangyari, sabi niya hindi niya raw alam bakit nagawa ng anak niya [iyon]. ‘Di niya direktang na-mention kung ano talagang nangyari sa loob ng bahay,” PO2 Arcinue says.

According to Myka’s mother, she still saw Von on the day the crime took place.

“Nung inilalabas si Myka sa bahay nila Von, nandun pa si Von sa harapan mismo ng bahay nila,” Marie Jean recalls. “Nakatayo siya dun, naka-jacket, pinagmamasdan niya lang si Myka nung inilalabas.”

But after that, they never saw Von again.

The suspect. 19-year-old Kristoffer Von Moraleja.

The motive

“Sa ganyang insidente, walang makakapagsabi kung bakit nagkaroon ng ganyang pangyayari,” PO2 Arcinue says. “Pero kung isang magkasintahan, dala lamang iyan—isang nag-aaway sa selos o kaya gusto nang makipaghiwalay.”

And as if to affirm the theory, the Myka and Von’s friend, Bea says, “Iniisip lang po naming na baka po nag-aaway lang po sila. Baka po napuno lang [si Von] kasi kinikimkim niya lang lahat ‘pag nagagalit siya kay Myka. Alam ko po, madalas siyang sabihan ni Myka na break na, ayoko na. Madalas siyang anuhin ni Myka na iiwan na.”

According to Dr. Bernadette Arcena, the resident clinical psychologist of St. Luke’s Medical Center, this could be considered as a crime of passion.

“’Pag sinabi kasing crime of passion, ito ay namamagitan sa mga partners na may matitinding selos, galit, at rage,” she says. “Sabi nga nila, too much love can kill a person. O sobrang tindi ng emotion ay pwede kang makagawa ng bagay na hindi katangi-tangi.”

Meanwhile, the authorities launched a manhunt operation for Von.

“Tumawag sa’kin [ang tatay ni Von] after three days at sinasabi niya nga na isusuko niya ‘yung anak niya,” PO2 Arcinue says. “Hanggang sa ngayon, wala namang Von Moraleja na lumulutang.”

After this, Kristoffer Von Moraleja was charged with murder at the Pasay City Prosecutor’s office. After three months, a warrant of arrest was issued.

Myka’s family and friends helped with the manhunt by starting an online campaign and spreading photos of Von.

“Sa Facebook, naglagay kami ng ‘Justice for Myka’. So nababasa namin ‘yung suporta ng tao kaya naman ‘yun ang nagpapaluwag sa aming pamilya na kahit hindi naming kakilala, thousands of people, naglalagay sila ng message concerning Myka,” the victim’s moms says.

Justice for Myka. An online campaign started by the friends and family of the victim.

Justice for Myka. An online campaign started by the friends and family of the victim.

Meanwhile, Myka’s father has a message for Von.

“Nananalangin ako na sumurender na lang siya,” Albert says. “Isuko siya ng ama niya para parehas na kaming matahimik at makapagsimula kami nang maayos ulit.”