Two teenagers who were found dead in Tondo could possibly have been victims of a gang war, Manila police said.
Chormel Buenaflor and Carl Justine Banogon, both 15 years old, had been missing for about a week until their corpses were found floating near Isla Puting Bato on Monday. Their heads, hands, and legs were wrapped with tape, while their throats were slit. They had stab wounds all over their bodies leading their families to believe that they were tortured to death.
Captain Henry Navarro, chief of the Manila Police District, said that Buenaflor has a tattoo that allegedly proves that he was a member of the Batang City Jail gang.
“We are considering the gang war [angle],” Navarro told GMA News Online. “So we are looking if he has a record of misdemeanors in adjacent police stations.”
The police said that they are trying to trace the whereabouts of the victims before they died. Navarro said they were kidnapped on the same day but in different places and times.
“Based on our questioning, we learned that they knew each other but they weren’t friends,” the police captain said.
The Commission on Human Rights said in a statement released yesterday that it was “appalled” over the death of the two teenagers. It has dispatched a team to investigate the case.
“We stress that all individuals have the right against cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, which vitiate the free will and dignity of the individual,” the Commission said.
Summary executions are a common occurrence in the Philippines, and victims are often found floating in bodies of water in major cities. A majority of the victims are men from poor communities.
The number of victims of summary executions rose by the thousands when the Duterte administration’s drug war was launched in 2016.
Subscribe to The Coconuts Podcast for top trending news and pop culture from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong every Friday!