Crisanto Tolentino was just a teenager when he learned martial arts. He joined various competitions until he became a red belter.
But according to his sister, Virginia, Crisanto had a deeper motivation for learning martial arts.
"Bisexual siya," she said. "Minsan nakakatagpo siya ng mga nanloloko sa kanya."
Years passed and Crisanto became a successful individual. He finished his studies and found himself a job in the Engineering Dapartment of the Malolos, Bulacan City Hall. He was also able to buy himself a house.
That's why no one expected that one day, tragedy would befall Crisanto.
A bloody discovery
On February 16, 2012, Virginia was trying to contact his brother but he never replied nor answered her calls. She thought maybe he was just busy. Come nighttime, she tried calling him again but to no avail.
"Ang akala namin, naglakwatsa lang o may kasamang barkada na umalis, nag-stroll kung saan-saan," she said.
Meanwhile, at around 8:00 p.m., the village officers of Barangay Balayong seized a suspicious looking man with a motorcycle.
Upon inspection of the motorcycle, the authorities saw an address that led them to Virginia's home. When they showed the motorcycle to Virginia, she identified it as Crisanto's.
That's when Virginia began to really worry.
She decided to call her niece who lived near Crisanto and instructed her to look inside the latter’s home.
"Ang sabi niya, natatanaw lang daw niya, sabog-sabog na gamit," she says.
She then filed a blotter at the Malolos Police who sent a team to Crisanto's home in Menzyland Subdivision, Barangay Mojon, Malolos City.
The door was locked when they arrived. And after they forced it open, they were shocked by what they saw.
"Pagbukas po nung pinto, 'yung bangkay po agad ng kapatid ko 'yung nakita namin," recalled Virginia, "Nakadapa po, naliligo sa sairli niyang dugo. May taga na halos pinutulan ng ulo.'
At that point, a team from the Region 3 Scene of Crime Operation arrived at the crime scene.
Upon initial investigation, there were signs that Crisanto attempted to defend himself.
"Kung paano siya pinatay, nagkaroon ng implikasyon na may background siya sa martial arts," said PSupt. David Poklay, Former Chief of the Malolos PNP. "Mayroon pong komosyon o mayroong pag-aaway na nagresulta sa pagpatay doon sa biktima."
They also recovered a knife which they believed was the murder weapon.
The search for Crisanto's killer
Based on post-mortem examination, the victim sustained severe hemorrhage secondary to a sharp force injury to the neck.
To further the investigation, the authorities spoke with Crisanto's relatives living nearby. One of them was Marybeth Tolentino.
According to Marybeth, at around midnight of February 17, 2012, she woke up to the sound of dogs barking. When she peeked through the window, she saw her Tito Crisanto arrive on his motorcycle with a man. After that, she went back to sleep.
Then after a couple of hours, Marybeth woke up again to the dogs' barks. This time, she saw the man exit the house and leave on his uncle's motorcycle.
She identified the man as one John Paul.
The authorities then interrogated the young man who was seen trying to take Crisanto's motorcycle from the vacant lot in Barangay Balayong. He confessed that it was also John Paul who instructed him to take the motorcycle.
Upon doing a background check, the authorities discovered that John Paul's real name was John Paulo Mercado.
"Dito po nagkaroon ng continuous operation," said PSupt. Poklay. "Immediately after the arrest, nakuhanan po siya ng stick ng marijuana."
Duing the interrogation, the suspect claimed that he had an agreement with the victim which that latter did not follow through.
"Mayroon sigurong dinedemend itong mga suspek sa biktima, hindi lang po natin masabi sa interview na ito, pero we have interviewed some of the witnesses na kung minsan po ay may pumupunta pong mga kalalakihan sa tinitirhan po ng biktima," said Psupt. Poklay.
Because of the suspect's confession and the evidence gathered by the authorities, John Paulo Mercado was charged with carnapping with homicide.
He was also charged with violation of R.A. 9165 because of the marijuana found in his possession.
In a joint inquest resolution released by the Malolos City Prosecution Office on February 17, 2012, the case vs. Crisanto Tolentino was elevated to murder while the carnapping case vs. him was elevated to the courts.