Monday Nov, 28 2022 12:55:46 PM

Troubled adult, minor partner commit suicide together

Breaking News • 11:45 AM Thu Nov 24, 2022
John M. Unson

ESPERANZA, Sultan Kudarat - A 29-year-old man and his 14-year-old live-in partner together committed suicide in a remote village here after the girl’s parents repeatedly tried to separate them.

Ronald Labina and the minor Johanna Saliling, both ethnic Tedurays, hanged themselves using nylon ropes tied to the trusses of their small house in Barangay Pamantingan in Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat.

A relative, who was to remind Saliling, a Grade 8 student, of an activity in school, found them both hanging lifeless inside their house on Wednesday morning.

Teduray tribal leaders, who requested anonymity, told reporters Thursday the parents of Saliling are strongly against her relationship with Labina and had even warned to file a statutory rape case against him owing to their daughter’s being a minor.

“They seemed so depressed several days before they committed suicide together,” said an aunt of Saliling, who asked not to be identified.

In a report to the Police Regional Office 12, the Esperanza Municipal Police Station said relatives of Labina and Saliling immediately claimed their cadavers, after forensic operatives had inspected the scene and documented the incident.

Teduray culture allows teenage marriages but the parents of Saliling had wanted her to finish high school and study a four-year college course, according to members of tribal councils in Esperanza and in the nearby Ampatuan, Maguindanao del Sur.

Sources told reporters Saliling’s relatives, in opposing her planned marriage with Labina, who is 15 years her senior, had invoked the new law against child marriage, the Republic Act 11596, that can land in jail parents who concede, or anyone who arranges marriage of someone below 18 years old.

An investigator in the Esperanza police, Staff Sgt. Ryan Guillero, who led the probe on the suicide incident, said there was no indication of a foul play in the duo’s shocking death. (John Felix Unson)

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