A 17-year-old rentboy who headed a gang in the Philippines city of Valenzuela that preyed on gay men was arrested with two accomplices on Wednesday morning, following the killing of a 44-year-old man.
Those arrested were Cedrick de Guia, 20; Jed Sarabia, 18; both of Obando, Bulacan; and the 17-year-old gang leader, a resident of Valenzuela City.
Recovered from De Guia and the minor who, according to the police was the leader of the gang tagged in the killing of another gay man earlier this month, were two cell phones, an Apple iPod and a shoulder bag owned by the victim, Reginald Santiano.
According to Valenzuela police chief Senior Superintendent Rhoderick Armamento, the boy admitted that he had around 20 gay clients, some of whom filed complaints against him at the police station following his arrest.
“The suspects did not plan to kill Santiano but the latter was a big man who fought them. That’s when the boy ordered De Guia to stab him with a kitchen knife,” Armamento said.
Initial police findings said that Santiano’s naked body was found inside his house on Tuesday evening, lying face down in a pool of blood with multiple stab wounds all over his body.
The victim was found by his housemate Jaymond Soriano, a pedicab driver who said that he last saw Santiano with two men before he left their house on Tuesday night.
Based on the description given to them by Soriano and a tip provided by a witness who said he saw the two suspects get into a tricycle headed for Arkong Bato, the police tracked down the 17-year-old and De Guia and arrested them.
The minor later told the police of the whereabouts of Sarabia whom they arrested. During questioning, Sarabia said he had nothing to do with the victim’s death.
He admitted, however, his involvement in the death of Ronaldo Calazara, a sales supervisor who was also gay, on July 8. Calazara was found dead inside the room he was renting in Valenzuela City. He had been choked to death.
According to Sarabia, he and the minor went to Calazara’s house and had a few drinks. He said that they had planned to rob the victim after he fell asleep.
The minor, however, started strangling Calazara and when the victim fought, Sarabia said he panicked and held the victim down. When the victim died, they took his valuables and fled.
He added that this was the only time he took part in the group’s criminal activities. He told the police, however, that he believed that the minor had victimized other gay men before.
When arrested, the minor was in possession a cell phone belonging to Calazara.
Armamento said that charges of robbery with homicide would be filed against the two accomplices at the Valenzuela City Prosecutor’s Office. As for the minor, the police will have to meet first with a representative from the Department of Social Welfare and Development and his parents before determining what to do with him.