GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 4 Aug) – A primary suspect in the kidnapping and brutal slaying of two high school students in Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat two weeks ago surrendered to police and local officials over the weekend following a series of negotiations.
Isulan Mayor Diosdado Pallasigue said suspect Jay Sarayno alias “Pluto” voluntarily surrendered to him and the town’s police chief late Saturday evening in San Francisco town in Agusan del Sur.
He said Sarayno, who is a resident of Barangay New Pangasinan in Isulan, decided to yield to face the charges being prepared by the local police in connection with the abduction and killing last July 19 of students Robert Mallet, 14, and Rey Pacifico, 16.
The victims, who were residents of Barangay Cabuling in Tantangan, South Cotabato, were found dead at the boundary of barangays New Pangasinan and Laguilayan in Isulan on July 22, three days after they were reportedly abducted.
Mallet’s mother Lorna was found unconscious and with severe injuries at another portion of the area at around 6:30 p.m. on July 21, a day after reportedly delivering the P50,000 ransom for the two victims.
“He was constantly bothered by his conscience so he decided to surrender,” the mayor said in a press conference on Sunday afternoon.
Pallasigue said they initiated the negotiations for the suspect’s surrender after the latter’s wife resurfaced in Isulan town early last week.
He said Sarayno’s wife decided to return to Isulan along with their six-month old child after earlier fleeing along with him.
Citing accounts by the suspect’s wife, he said they left Isulan town by motorcycle last July 21 and proceeded to the North Cotabato area.
They left the motorcycle along the national highway in Matalam, North Cotabato and boarded a bus bound for Davao City, he said.
He said Sarayno and his family then boarded several buses that brought them to Northern Mindanao, Eastern Visayas and eventually at an undisclosed location in the Bicol Region.
While in Bicol, Pallasigue said Sarayno tried to get a plane ticket to Manila for his family but the airline reportedly refused to issue one for his child due to the lack of identity documents.
“It was then that his wife decided to just return, along with their child, to Isulan and even threatened to commit suicide if he would not allow them to go,” the mayor said.
Pallasigue said that with the help of Sarayno’s wife and mother, they were able to convince the latter to give up at a designated spot in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur.
Sarayno, who was presented to the media during the press conference, admitted killing the two high school students and trying the same on Lorna Mallet.
But he stressed that he committed the crime by his own and did not have any help from other persons as initially suspected by police investigators.
“I can’t sleep at night because my conscience was constantly bothering me and because they (victims) were also my friends,” he said in the vernacular.
Sarayno said his original plan was just to kidnap the two victims and get some money in return as he wants to properly take care of his family.
“(Killing Mallet and Pacifico) was just a side plan. I did not intend to harm them but things happened. I am extending my apologies to their families and I’m here now to pay for everything that I did,” he added.
Mallet, who was adopted by his mother Lorna’s late British husband, and Pacifico were last seen leaving Barangay Cabuling last July 19 after being invited by Sarayno to play basketball in Barangay New Pangasinan in Isulan town.
The duo failed to return home that night but Sarayno came back alone on Sunday morning to inform Mallet’s mother Lorna that they were kidnapped by unidentified persons.
Sarayno, who drives a motorcycle-for-hire owned by the Mallet family, reportedly asked Ms. Mallet to prepare P50,000 in cash as ransom, which she agreed to personally bring to Isulan.
But Ms. Mallet was found unconscious a day later near the boundary of Isulan and Bagumbayan towns in Sultan Kudarat.
Supt. Joefel Siason, Isulan municipal police chief, said they will immediately file kidnapping, double murder and attempted murder charges on Monday against Sarayno.
He said the filing of the charges was delayed as they have yet to obtain a signed affidavit from Ms. Mallet, who is still recuperating from her injuries that had required a major operation in Davao City.
“Now that we have a direct confession from the suspect, we will file the cases directly to the court,” he said.