BATANGAS - Tragedy struck a well-known Catholic school in Batangas province when a 14-year-old male student shot himself inside their house Monday afternoon after allegedly experiencing consistent bullying from his classmates.
Police found Lee Young Gunay, a second-year student of St. Bridget College, sprawled dead inside his parents' room in Madonna Homes Subdivision in Barangay Alangilan, Batangas City around 10:00 p.m.
Gunay sustained a single gunshot wound on his right temple, police said.
In an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN, Willy Gunay, father of the victim, said extreme depression could have triggered his son's suicide.
"Masyadong dinamdam ng anak ko ng malaman nyang bagsak sya sa kanyang Math subject, kaya posibleng doon naisipan ng anak kong magpakamatay," he said.
However, during the course of the interview, Shaina, a younger cousin of Lee Young, spilled the beans, to the surprise of Willy.
Shaina narrated a bullying act that was experienced by her cousin after opening the Facebook account of Lee Young and the secret group he belongs -- a certain "2-Gratitude".
Shaina said the account was maintained by her cousin’s classmate and composed mostly of friends belonging to their 2nd year high school section Gratitude.
Shaina revealed that she was able to read from the group’s wall as saying "Dapat tumigil na tayo sa pambu-bully kay Lee."
"Ngayon ko lang nalaman sa mga classmates nya (Lee) na kung ano-ano pala ang itinatawag sa kanya noong nabubuhay pa sya. Tinatawag daw syang bulugan, bakla at may body odor kaya laging tinutukso na naba-busted sa mga nililigawan niya," Shaina said while holding back tears
She said her cousin's grades could have been affected by the constant bullying, as she herself experienced in another school.
"Kaya ibinubuhos nalang ni Kuya Lee ang kanyang time sa pagpe-Facebook, biking at paglalaro ng online games para kalimutan ang kanyang bad experience sa kanilang school," Shaina added.
"Naramdaman ko din ang naramdaman ni Kuya Lee, maswerte nga lang ako kasi naagapan ng parents ko ang ginagawa sa akin ng mga bully kong classmates," Shaina said
Shaina's mother was able to write to her teachers, who in turn reprimanded her classmates.
"Ang alam ko nagsumbong din si Kuya Lee sa teacher niya kaya lang deadma lang sila," Shaina alleged.
"Masyadong tahimik kasi si Lee, ayaw nya kaming magkaroon pa ng problema," Willy said. "Had he told us his ordeals, sana nagawan din namin ng aksyon".
Willy, a retired security agency official, is suffering from diabetes while Lee's mother is a teacher at the Batangas National High School. His older sister Wilma is a nurse in Dubai.
Willy, meanwhile, could not hide his frustrations with Lee's class adviser. "Bakit kasi nag-conclude na kaagad sya na kailangang kumuha ng summer remedial class ni Lee kahit hindi pa nga lumalabas ang class cards nila."
He said Lee had just come from the school when he committed suicide inside their house.
A text message was also retrieved from Lee’s phone saying, "Mam, wag nyo naman po ako ibabagsak, malaki na po ang problema ng pamilya ko".
“Dapat kami muna ang kinausap ng adviser nya bago nya sinabi sa bata na may bagsak syang subject. Alam kong ayaw na ipaalam ng anak namin ang problema nya dahil sa sakit ko at sa hirap ding dinadanas ng mommy nya sa trabaho," Willy said.
"Hindi din alam ng teacher ni Lee na kaya bumabagsak ang anak ko ay dahil sa pambu-bully sa kanya sa school," he added.
Police recovered a blood-soaked note beside Lee's body with the words "Mame, Hwag nyo po kalimutan na mahal ko kayo, Lei".
A caliber .45 pistol and a spent shell were also recovered by investigators.
Willy, however, denied owning the gun. "Meron akong licensed gun, pero hindi ko alam kung saan nakuha ng anak ko yung ginamit nyang baril sa pagpapakamatay."
Police set aside foul play in the incident as the doors of the Gunays' residence were locked from the inside when Lee committed suicide.
A 16-year-old University of the Philippines-Manila student also committed suicide recently allegedly because she was unable to pay her tuition in the state-run university.