Friendly. Kind-hearted. Obedient.
That’s how Floriana Juliano described her son, Jay. But the 20-year-old boy also had a mischievous side. And little did they know that this trait would be the very thing that would lead him to his demise.
On the night of September 12, 2009, the Juliano family woke up to the sound of screaming. A friend had rushed to their home to deliver terrible news—Jay had been stabbed. The family rushed to the hospital. But it was too late.
“Nung pagkakita ko sa kanya sa ER, pagbukas ko ng kurtina, maputla na [siya] pero ni-re-revive pa siya nung doctor,” Floriana tells ABS-CBN SOCO. “Nandun ‘yung mga friends niya, nag-iiyakan na. Hindi ako makakibo.”
Floriana prayed for a miracle that would save her son. But after a few minutes, the doctor came out. There was nothing more they could do. Jay was dead.
20-year-old Jay Juliano.
The night it all happened
Floariana felt her world fall apart. She couldn’t believe that her son was gone. More so, the way his son died. Based on autopsy results, Jay died due to a stab wound he sustained on the chest.
Upon receiving information, a team from the Quezon City Police proceeded to the hospital to investigate. “Pinuntahan ko ang biktima at tiningnan ko kung saan ang kanyang tama,” investigator-on-case PO1 Hermogenes Capili tells ABS-CBN SOCO. “Pahaba ang sugat sa kanyang dibdib. So either kutsilyo [ang pinangsaksak], hindi siya ice pick o matulis na bagay.”
They proceeded to question the people who brought Jay to the hospital—his friends. According to them, the last person they saw Jay with was Ramley Domingo and Kristoffer Renz Asuncion. They authorities invited the two in for questioning.
In his interview with ABS-CBN SOCO, Ramley narrated everything that happened the night Jay died. He and his friends were having some drinks and, according to Ramley, when Jay had a little too much alcohol, he became a bit boisterous. Drunk, Jay’s attention turned to his gay friend, Renz, and his boyfriend Mark Castuera.
Ramley said Jay kept teasing Renz—saying that Mark used to be a piece of rag until they became a couple. “Tapos sumabat ako, sabi ko, ‘Hindi naman dugyut si Mark’,” Ramley says. “Tapos sabi naman ni Jay, ‘Hindi na siya dugyut kasi binihisan na siya ni Renz’.”
At that time, Mark just kept quiet. But according to Ramley, Jay kept teasing the couple. “Parang pinamumukha niya na ‘Kaya ka lang naging mukhang maayos kasi bihisan na ni Renz. Kaya ka naging matino, naging ganyan ang buhay mo, kasi kasa-kasama mo siya, may nagpapakain sa iyo, may natitirhan kang matino’,” Ramley recalls.
It also seemed to Ramley that Jay was attracted to Renz.
In the middle of all the teasing, the group didn’t notice Mark walk away. Renz followed. And so did Jay. Jay kept asking Renz if he could just sleep over at his place since he was already drunk. “Nung nandoon na kami sa bahay, binubulungan ko si Renz kung okay lang ba na nandito ‘yan,” Ramley says. “Sabi naman ni Renz, siya [si Jay] raw kasi ang mapilit sumama.”
And that’s when the commotion began.
A burst of violence
At that point, Ramley says, Mark became violent. He began throwing things towards Jay. When he wouldn’t stop, Mark’s brother Marbert tried to intervene. “Susugurin na [ni Mark] si Jay sa labas ng pinto. That time, hinatak na siya ni Marbert tapos pinindown na siya sa wall,” Ramley recalls. “Naririnig na lang naming nagsisigawan ‘yung magkapatid. Ang nakita ko na lang noon ay may hawak na [si Mark] na litro ng bote.”
But more than Mark’s violence, Ramley was surprised when he saw Jay suddenly pull out a knife. Jay was about to attack Mark when Ramley stepped in between them. But Ramley got wounded in the process. So he stepped away and got out of the house. “Tapos ‘yung huli ko na lang narinig, sumisigaw na si Renz,” he says.
When he rushed back into the house, that’s when he saw Jay staggering with a knife stabbed to his chest.
According to Renz’s sworn statement, after he got out of the bathroom, he saw Jay and Marbert fighting for the knife. And in a split second, he saw the knife already plunged into Jay’s chest. That’s when he started screaming for help.
Reenactment. According one of the witnesses, Renz Asuncion, he saw Marbert Castuera and the victim, Jay Juliano, fighting for the knife. (Photo by JV Noriega)
Because of his testimony, 20-year-old Marbert and his brother 17-year-old Mark Castuera became the primary suspects. “Dalawa silang kinasuhan ko kasi ang unang nakaaway nitong biktima ay si Mark Castuera, boyfriend ni Renz. Kumbaga tumigil na lang siya nung ang kapatid na niya ang nagalit kay Jay,” PO1 Capili says.
The authorities believed that jealousy was the motive behind the crime. “Nakikita ko dito ay isang love triangle,” PO1 Capili affirms. “Itong si Renz Anacion ay boyfriend ni Mark Castuera at itong si Jay Juliano naman may gusto kay Renz.
Victim of love. The authorities believe that jealousy was the motive behind the crime.
Immediately, the authorities apprehended both Marbert and Mark and were charged with homicide at the Quezon City Prosecutor’s Office. However, since he was a minor and there was no sufficient evidence linking him to the crime, Mark was absolved. “Nakita ng inquest fiscal na walang partisipasyon si Mark kaya si-net niya for further investigation,” Atty. Meynard Bautista of the QC Prosecutor’s Office says. “Ang sabi ng dalawang witness, nakita nilang nag-away at nagalit itong si Marbert kay Jay Juliano kasi ayaw ibigay ang patalim na hawak-hawak niya. Nag-agawan sila ng patalim kaya may direct participation itong si Marbert na siya ang sumaksak.”
Currently, Marbert is detained at the Quezon City Jail.
ABS-CBN SOCO visited him for an interview and he insisted that it was all an accident and that he didn’t intend to stab Jay in the chest. “Actually, ako pa ‘yung pumigil sa kapatid ko, gusto na siyang hampasin ng bote ng kapatid ko,” Marbert says. “Ang purpose ko lang po nun ay kunin ‘yung kutsilyo at itapon para walang masaktan.”
“Pinipilit ko pong kunin sa kanya ‘yung kutsilyo habang inaagaw niya rin sa akin ‘yung kutsilyo,” he adds. “Hanggang sa dumating kami sa isang sulok ng bahay dun sa may sink. Tapos nadulas po ako. Pagkatumba ko, nabitawan ko po ‘yung kamay niya. Tapos pagbitaw ko po, dumeretso sa kanya ‘yung kutsilyo.”
Cry of self-defense. The suspect, Marbert Castuera, insisted that he did not mean to stab the victim and that it was all an accident.
But no matter how much Marbert insists that it was all self-defence, Jay’s mother Floriana, wouldn’t believe him. She believes that they have a big fighting chance in the case. And she wouldn’t stop until Marbert is convicted. “Ang hirap tanggapin ‘yung namatay ‘yung anak mo na ganun lang,” she says. “Namatay ang anak ko na walang kalaban-laban.”
However, Marbert insists that the Juliano family isn’t the only victim in the case. “Humihingi po ako ng pasensya sa kanila,” he says. “[Pero] hindi lang anak nila ang biktima dito, hindi lang sila ang naghihirap dito.”
But in the end, it is the evidence and how the court would interpret them that would decide the fate of the suspect and the victim’s family. (END)
A mother’s anguish. Floriana Juliano prays and waits for the day that justice is served for her 20-year-old son.