DOUBT shrouds the deaths of two female students inside a public school in Taguig City.
The victims identified as Mary Nicole Picar, 15, a Grade 10 student, and Irish Sheen Manalo, 13, a Grade 8 student, were reportedly found hanging by a rope tied around their necks to a steel grill in the Girl Scout office on the third floor of the Signal Village National High School’s Magsaysay Building at past 10:00 in the evening.
In its report, the local police said a 16-year-old student last saw the girls at around 7:45 p.m. and they told her they were about to head home.
According to the Southern Police District, the witness learned through group chat that the victims never got home, prompting her to look for the victims whom she found lifeless inside the school.
The witness reported the incident to the guards on duty at the school.
“Our family is asking and begging for your help – to all the classmates, teachers, and friends of Irish Sheen Manalo… come forward and tell the truth,” reads part of a social media post uploaded by Rhea Manalo, a cousin of one of the victims.
Rhea accused the police of removing the girls’ bodies without the scene being examined by police Scene of the Crime Operations (SOCO) personnel, raising suspicion of a cover-up.
Taking a swipe at the school officials for being ‘uncooperative,’ she insisted that her cousin’s death was not a suicide.
“My cousin was an honor student and part of the (Girl Scouts of the Philippines). She’s at Grade 8, Gold Section. She would not dare kill herself. We are still waiting for the autopsy results as of this post,” Rhea said.
Interestingly, the school is equipped with closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV).
No Foul Play?
In a statement, the local police shrugged off allegations of a cover-up, citing initial investigation with Scene of Crime Operation (SOCO) which revealed there was no “foul play” in the deaths of the two students.
The police also urged the public to refrain from making speculations about the incident that would worsen the situation.
“PNP-Taguig assures everyone, especially the bereaved families, that the investigation will continue and it will be conducted thoroughly and expeditiously,” they said.
DepEd Joins Probe
The Department of Education said on Saturday night that it “fully commits to cooperate with the PNP Taguig regarding this matter, and is committed towards the swift and expeditious conduct of the ongoing investigation.”
“We express our deepest sympathies to the families. The loss of young lives is a devastating blow to any community,” the DepEd said.
“Likewise, the Department appeals to the public to respect the privacy of the families during this tragic time,” the agency added.
Previous Campus Deaths
Last month, Yuan Lorenzo Magdato, a Grade 7 student from the high school department of Rizal Technological University in Mandaluyong City jumped to his death after being shamed by his teacher in front of the class.
Previously, a grade 5 student Francis Jay Gumikib from the Peñafrancia Elementary School in Antipolo City also succumbed to death 11 days after being slapped by his teacher “as a matter of disciplinary action.”
Interestingly, the autopsy showed the slap has nothing to do with the death of Gumikib whom they claimed died of a rare medical condition.
DepEd nonetheless issued a suspension order against Gumikib’s teacher Mirasol Sison. It was not certain though whether the local police filed criminal charges against her.
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