By Jennifer P. Rendon
The Iloilo City Police Station 5 released the photograph of the suspect in the killing of a 38-year-old masseuse inside a motel in Mandurriao, Iloilo City.
The photograph was grabbed from the CCTV footage of a store in front of Queen’s Court Drive-In Hotel at Barangay Bolilao, Mandurriao.
Lieutenant Joebert Amado, ICPS 5 deputy chief, temporarily declined to identify the suspect.
The unnamed man was the last person seen with Christine Gabayeron before she was found dead in Room 111 of Queen’s Court on April 1, 2023.
The ICPS5 dubbed the suspect as armed and dangerous “because of the manner he killed the victim,” Amado said.
Gabayeron, who temporarily resides at Villa Matilde, Barangay San Vicente, Jaro, Iloilo City, is a mother of three – 19, 16, and 10 years old – from Barangay Bacjawan Sur, Concepcion, Iloilo.
The ICPS 5, through the initiative of its commander Lieutenant Colonel Albert Sy, also offered a P10,000 reward for any information that could lead them to the suspect.
While Amado has been mum about the suspect’s identity, reports claimed that the man could be from Iloilo province but is working in Iloilo City.
Major Shella Mae Sangrines, Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) spokesperson, said they released the photograph after a witness executed an affidavit.
The Queen’s Court room boy attested that the man in the photograph was the same person he talked to shortly before the discovery of the victim’s body.
The spa center manager where Gabayeron worked also claimed that it’s also the same man who went to their establishment at 3 a.m. on April 1 to avail of massage services.
Gabayeron later asked her manager to go out since the man allegedly wanted “home service.”
They readily left the center and walked to the nearby motel.
At one point, the man left the room, went to a nearby store, and bought beer, before going back to their room.
At around 6:30 a.m., room attendants Kier Escobido and Edcel Puenteveja noticed a male person leaving Room 111.
They described the man to be around 30 years old, at least 5 feet and 5 inches in height, medium-built, has short curly hair and was wearing a black cap and a blue jersey.
The attendants asked the man if they would be checking out already, considering that it’s almost three hours since they checked in.
But the man simply answered that his companion was still taking a bath inside the room.
It didn’t take long before the man surreptitiously left the vicinity.
The two attendants hurriedly went on to check by knocking on the room several times.
When no one answered, they opened the room and discovered Gabayeron’s body sprawled on the floor.
She was lying on her back with only her shirt on that was rolled up.
Police investigators also noticed hematoma on her face and other parts of the body.
She also suffered lacerations on the left side of her body.
Broken beer bottles were scattered in the room and her personal belongings were in disarray.
According to Amado, the woman died from head injuries.
“She was apparently struck with a blunt object on her head. It was done repeatedly. Perhaps, more than five times until the bottle got broken,” he said.
The laceration on her body came from the broken beer bottles.
Amado said it only showed that the woman had sexual intercourse but there was no proof indicating that it was done by force.
She also did not suffer any defense wounds.
Amado said they could not pinpoint any motive as of now.
“But we’re looking at the possibility that the man either failed to pay the woman’s professional fee or he failed to pay the agreed amount which could have led to a misunderstanding,” Amado said.
The woman’s cellphone and the money in her bag were also missing.