Person of interest in Adamson student hazing case found dead

MANILA, Philippines – One of the persons of interest tagged in the death of Adamson University student John Matthew Salilig was found dead in an apparent suicide on February 28, 2023.

Person of interest in Adamson student hazing case found dead
A person of interest implicated in the death of Adamson student John Matthew Salilig was found in an apparent suicide | Photo Courtesy: ABS-CBN

Laguna Police Director Col. Randy Glen Silvio confirmed on Friday that a person of interest was found dead by hanging in his house in Taguig City. It was reported that the person died on the same day Salilig’s body was found in a shallow grave in Imus, Cavite.

“Reported na patay na yung isang person of interest by hanging,” Silvio confirmed. Authorities listed his death as suicide.

The 28-year-old deceased person was an alumnus of Adamson University and a member of Tau Gamma Phi fraternity. He was believed to be the driver of a vehicle which carried some of the fraternity members and another suspected hazing victim during the night of the initiation rite which led to Salilig’s death.

According to the police, the parents of the deceased person of interest were the ones who reached out to the Biñan police to surrender the vehicle. It was only then that they found out that the person already died.

“Kanina may kumoordinate sa atin para i-surrender 'yung vehicle. And pinuntahan natin only to find out na patay na pala 'yung person of interest natin last Feb. 28,” Laguna police chief Virgilio Jopia said.

Salilig was a chemical engineering junior who reportedly joined the Tau Gamma Phi fraternity's Zamboanga chapter. On February 21, his family posted on social media asking for help to locate him after he went missing on February 18. On February 28, Adamson University released a statement confirming the passing of one of their students, Salilig.

Shortly after, one of the suspects showed up to the police and pointed to the location of Salilig’s remains. The student died in an initiation rite where he received 70 hits that lead to his death. At least 15 persons of interest were identified and 7 of which are now under police custody.

On March 2, six suspects involved in the hazing case underwent inquest proceedings for violating the Anti-Hazing Law. They were identified to be Tung Cheng Teng, 22; Earl Anthony Romero, 21; Jerome Balot, 22; Sandro Victorino, 28; Michael Lambert Ritalde, 31, and Mark Pedrosa, 39. The alleged mastermind of the illegal rite, Daniel Perry, 23, surrendered to Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Tau Gamma Phi's Imus chapter released a statement condemning the death of Salilig, saying that the inhuman actions don’t represent their brotherhood.

— Sally, The Summit Express

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