Police to exhume Marianeth’s body for autopsy amid doubts of foul play

Talomo police chief Supt. Mattheo Baccay told MindaNews that both parents of 12-year-old suicide victim Marianeth Amper agreed to submit her body for autopsy.

Baccay said they have to do the procedure to settle doubts of foul play against the reported suicide.

"We need to find out in finality whether it was suicide or foul play," he told MindaNews via telephone.

Marianeth, who was reported to have hanged herself to death in the afternoon of Nov. 2, left a diary for the month of October written in Filipino and an unsent and undated letter to GMA TV's Wish Ko Lang (How I wish) reality show. The manuscripts documented her family's poverty, difficulties in schooling among other things.

Baccay said they are preparing to exhume her body late Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning after Isabelo and Magdalena Amper and their other children agreed to the autopsy amid rumors the family is hiding the truth about the sixth grader's decision to allegedly commit suicide.

He said they were not able to conduct an autopsy before Marianeth was buried on Nov. 10 because the family did not give consent.

Baccay said police were puzzled why the family reported the suicide only on Nov. 6, four days after the girl allegedly hanged herself in a room while she was left alone in the Ampers' hillside residence in Maa district.

He said the family agreed only Monday when they were called to appear at the Talomo police station for questioning.

Baccay said Mayor Rodrigo Duterte insisted on conducting the autopsy to erase doubts over her death, which drew attention to her family's situation and poverty in the country.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered a probe amid reports she died of hunger and poverty, a situation one of her cabinet members considered as an isolated case but has instead triggered protest and ridicule.

Pyschology professor Gail Ilagan, also a columnist of MindaNews, called the girl's alleged suicide as "out of the ordinary", that she was into a depression and that her poverty could just be among the mitigating factors of her depression.

Ilagan noted Marianeth’ entry into puberty and the upcoming Christmas season as other factors in her depression.

"What worsened it is that she seemed to have nobody to confide her feelings to," she told MindaNews on Saturday.

Marianeth reportedly kept her feelings to herself and sought refuge in her writings.

The Department of Education could attest to the problem based on the findings of their three-day investigation on Marianeth's death.

Marianeth appeared to have a serious problem at home, which she refused to detail to her classmates since classes begun in June.

She told her classmates she wanted to commit suicide, said Jenielito S. Atillo, DepEd Southeastern Mindanao spokesperson, quoting results of three rounds of investigation by DepEd.

Attilo told MindaNews they are not buying the story that the 12-year-old sixth grader at the Maa Central Elementary School ended her life on No. 2 because of her family's poverty.

He clarified, however, that DepEd is not the proper authority to test the truth of her "alleged suicide."

He said students told DepEd investigators on Nov. 9 that Marianeth had shown unpredictable behavior.

"She would suddenly cry while in the middle of a game and would withdraw to the rest room if her classmates would insist on what's troubling her,” Attilo said, citing investigation results.

Marianeth reportedly asked classmates not to tell teachers about her behavior.

Atillo belied that Marianeth's teachers required her to pay at least P100 for a school project, which was the claim of Isabelo Amper, her father during interviews with the media.

"The only project required of them was the Talaarawan (diary) for the Filipino subject,” he said in the telephone interview Monday.

"The teacher did not even require them to submit it using a new notebook. They were asked to recycle," he added.

Marianeth complied with the diary assignment, which has become a depiction of her situation while still alive, but was not able to submit it. She died on all Souls Day on Nov. 2, Friday. The deadline was Nov. 5, Monday.