Reah Mae Tocmo’s killer admits he tried to frame-up ‘Insik’ to get revenge

By: Emmariel Ares - CDN Digital Multimedia Reporter | August 10,2023 - 09:44 PM

Separate photos of Reah Mae Tocmo and Simeon Gabutero Jr.

Reah Mae Tocmo and Simeon Gabutero Jr.

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Simeon Gabutero Jr., at first, pointed at his neighbor, Roberto Hisman Gabison alias “Insik,” as the alleged killer of Rhea Mae Tocmo.

But he later on admitted to having committed the crime and his attempt to frame-up Gabison to get revenge for a dispute that happened in the past.

Why and how he killed Tocmo, 19, were contained in an extra-judicial confession that Gabutero signed on Thursday, August 10, 2023.

In his confession, Gabutero said, he killed Tocmo out of jealousy and anger.

Police Major Angelito Valleser, chief of Labangon Police Station, told reporters in an interview on Thursday that they did not find any evidence that would link Gabison to Tocmo’s death.

Gabutero’s admission that he tried to frame-up Gabison was also enough to clear him of any involvement in the crime.

Valleser said that they did not also find any evidence that would link Jewel Smith, Tocmo’s friend, to her death.

Tocmo’s cellphone

Earlier, Gabutero claimed that Gabison asked him to sell Tocmo’s cellular phone.

He also alleged that he saw the two fight in the morning of July 16, the same day that Tocmo was last seen alive.

But all these were untrue.  Valleser said that Gabutero made his accusations against Gabison hoping to get revenge.

“Dunay time nga gisugo siya og papalit [ug shabu] sa iyang kauban. Unya niadto siya ni Insik. Gitabla daw siya. Mao to hinungdan nga ang nagsugo niya, gikulata daw siya,” Valleser added.

‘Murag nihilak sa kalipay’

In an interview with reporters, Gabison said he feels very relieved of the outcome of the police investigation on Tocmo’s death.

“Kay nalipay [ko], murag nihilak [ko] sa kalipay. Wa ko kasabot,” he said.

Gabison said he does not hold any grudge against Gabutero.  He instead wished that his neighbor in Barangay Guadalupe would already change for the better.

“Ug mag kita mi, mag pasalamat lang sad ko niya. Dili ko manghilabot lang gyud niya,” Gabison added.


As for Jewel Smith, Valleser said that they did not find any evidence that would implicate her to Tocmo’s death.

“Wala gyud mi kakita og pinakagamay nga ebidensya nga usa siya sa dunay kalambigitan sa kamatayon ni Reah,” he said.

The station commander said that they also found discrepancies in the claims of a taxi driver, who said that Smith and a foreign national boarded his taxi with an umarked box between 8 a.m. to 9 .m. on July 17.

Tocmo’s body found was in a roadside lot in Barangay Tisa at 7:35 a.m. of the same day, according to the security guard of a nearby establishment.

In addition, Valleser said that Tocmo’s body was placed in a marked box, which was contrary to the driver’s claim.

Nearing completion

Valleser said that with the extra-judicial confession that Gabutero signed, there investigation on Tocmo’s death is “nearing completion.”

He said that the confession was supported by evidences that they now have that include DNA test results, statements from five witnesses, and footage from closed-circuit television (CCTV).

Vallaser said that the traces of blood that were found on Tocmo’s nails matched with Gabutero’s blood samples.

He said that Tocmo managed to scratch Gabutero while he choked her to death.

CCTV footage

Valleser said that with the help of CCTV footage, they were also able to retrace Tocmo’s movements when she left her boarding house in Barangay Looc in Mandaue City on a motorcycle-for-hire and when she arrived in Barangay Guadalupe at about 5:15 a.m. on July 16.

“Gikan didto sa Mandaue, nigawas diha sa Panagdait, diha sa Mindanao Street, nisaka diha sa Golden Peak,” he said.

In his confession, Gabutero admitted to killing Tocmo inside his boarding house at around 6 a.m.

Valleser said they also found CCTV footage that captured Gabutero’s attempt to dispose Tocmo’s body at about 10 p.m. of the same day.

The box, where her body was placed, was transported on a motorcycle that Gabutero drove.  But he would not say who was his backrider at that time.

“Lig-on jud among ebidensya, siya jud ang [driver]. Kay ang katong pagdrive niya, gipakita pud namo sa witnesses nga taga didto. Niconfirm jud nga siya ang ga-drive,” he said.

For now, all that they needed to do was to identify Gabutero’s backrider and locate the cellphone that he used in communicating with Tocmo.

Airtight Case

Police Colonel Ireneo Dalogdog,  chief of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO), said they have an airtight case against Gabutero.

“We assure the public that we have an airtight case that would withstand conviction. The moment that we can file this, ma consider na ni siya nga solved ug closed na ang kaso,” he said in an interview on Thursday.

Dalogdog said the “extensive effort” of the police investigators paid off.

He also thanked the public for their cooperation.

“Kami, mapasalamaton sa publiko ug sa tanan ninyong kooperasyon ug pag-abag kanamo sa among paningkamot sa pagsulbad niining kasoha ug paghatag ug hustisya sa kamatayon sa biktima nga si Reah Tocmo,” he said. | with Mary Godinez, CTU Intern


TIMELINE: The tragic ending of Reah Mae Tocmo

Reah Mae Tocmo update: Murder victim seen arguing with man a day before she was found dead

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TAGS: CCPO, Guadalupe, Police Colonel Ireneo Dalogdog, Reah Mae Tocmo, revenge

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