Boy Jaguar’s tragic end in Tanza Baybay

By Alex P. Vidal

“You live by the gun and knife, and die by the gun and knife.”—Joe Valachi

IN the late 80’s, alyas Boy Jaguar was a known toughie in Iloilo City. His name had been implicated in a series of highway robbery incidents and illegal drug trafficking, among other crimes.

I first heard about him and his notoriety when I became a newsman.

Sometime at past five o’clock in the afternoon in July 1988, I spotted him standing outside our News Express (a newspaper) office in Immaculate Concepcion Building, Iznart Street, City Proper.

It was not by accident: Boy Jaguar was there waiting for me.

I actually knew why he was there: he wanted “to get even” after he learned I was the person who “rescued” Tonton Chu (not his real first name) from his dominion.

The term “rescue” was serendipity. Tonton, offspring of a prominent Filipino-Chinese family, is my classmate in elementary suffering from serious “manic” episodes.

Earlier that month (July 1988), Tonton sought my help saying he wanted to be “freed” from Boy Jaguar’s clutches.

Tonton had been staying in a rented room with Boy Jaguar in Brgy. Dulonan, Arevalo, Iloilo City for more than a year.

Tonton’s father, who belonged to a rich and famous Tsinoy clan in Iloilo City, died when he was a boy.

His mother, a former saleslady in Iloilo City, married an American citizen and has been living in Massachusetts, USA.


Mother regularly sent financial support for son through Boy Jaguar.

According to Tonton, he and his mother one day discovered that Boy Jaguar had been bilking them of large amounts of cash.

“Sometimes, they (mother and Boy Jaguar) argued over the phone and it ended in Boy Jaguar blackmailing my mother,” Tonton narrated.

When the situation developed from bad to worse, mother and son agreed it was time for son to move apart from Boy Jaguar. But the exit must be done discreetly so as not to vex the “hot-tempered” Boy Jaguar.

To make the long story short, I became unceremoniously involved in the plot’s crucial stage by agreeing to help a distressed former classmate.

Like a scene in Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick novel, I helped Tonton scoop his belongings surreptitiously from their Arevalo domicile.

Tonton fled straight to his mother’s hometown in Danao, Cebu.

It didn’t take long for Boy Jaguar to discover Tonton’s skiddoo; he didn’t find it hard to establish my identity and trace my office. Forlorn and dejected, a person with a criminal mind must be seething with vengeance.


Because I spotted him first outside our office, Boy Jaguar failed in his first attempt to harass me or execute whatever diabolical plan he had in mind. I used the backdoor for exit going to the Mary Mart Mall.

What ensued next was a veritable “catch-me-if-you-can” diegesis until it was cut short by a tragic news one morning on August 11, 1988: Boy Jaguar, the drug dealer and villain, was found dead with 27 stab wounds all over his body.

His badly mangled cadaver sprawled near the basketball court in Brgy. Tanza-Baybay, City Proper, territory of would-be murdered drug lord Boyet Odicta alyas Dragon.

Police theorized he had ran afoul of the drug syndicate in the area.

In our last conversation via Messenger (only the second time after 35 years) on August 7, 2023, Tonton, who now lives in Malay, Aklan, said Boy Jaguar’s real name was “Romeo King.”

“If we did not do it (helping him in his great escape), God knows what would have happened to my future,” intoned Tonton. His mother, now 79, still lives in Massachusetts.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.)