Reah Mae Tocmo’s death was an accident: ‘Nagbasol ko’, says Simeon Gabutero Jr.

By: Emmariel Ares - Multimedia Reporter - CDN Digital | August 11,2023 - 08:29 PM

Reah Mae Tocmo's suspected killer Simeon Gabutero Jr.

Simeon Gabutero Jr. said that he did not plan to kill Reah Mae Tocmo. | CDN Digital photo / Emmariel Ares

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Simeon Gabutero Jr. said he regret killing his ‘girlfriend’ Reah Mae Tocmo.

Gabutero, 22, said he lost his temper when he learned that Tocmo, who has been asking money from him, was also seeing other men, the reason why he choked her to death.

“Blanko ko sir. Nablanko ko ba. Nawa ko sa huna-huna nako [mao nga] nabuhat to nako,” he said in an interview with reporters on Friday, August 11.

“Biktima ra sad ko niya. Giilad man ko niya. Naa siyay lain ba unya di siya mostorya unya nasagpa ko niya,” he added.

After spending days in jail, Gabutero said he came to realize that killing Tocmo was wrong and he was sorry for what he did.

Police Major Angelito Valleser, chief of Labangon Police Station, said Gabutero was in tears when he admitted to killing Tocmo during their investigation.

Gabutero also sought the forgiveness of Tocmo’s parents during his interview with the Cebu media on Friday.

“Mangayo kog pasaylo sa mga pamilya ni Reah Mae Tocmo [sa] nabuhat nako. Wa koy intention nga mapatay to. Nagbasol ko. Nagmahay sad ko sir,” he said.

Gabutero said he never thought that their meeting last July 16 would end in tragedy.

Meeting Rhea for the first time

Gabutero said he very excited when he learned that Tocmo wanted to meet with him for the first time on July 16.  He woke up at around 5 a.m. that day and prepared for her visit at his boarding house in Barangay Guadalupe.

He even asked his parents to leave the boarding house that they were staying in so that he will have some privacy with his ‘guest.’

Gabutero said that he has been in a long-distance relation with the 19-year-old native of Davao del Norte since he met her through Facebook on December 5, 2022.

He claimed that he has been sending money for Tocmo’s school allowance since.  He kept on sending her money not knowing that Tocmo had stopped going to school.

She never even bothered to tell him that she arrived in Cebu last June 14, Gabutero said.

Tocmo, he said, only told him that she was already in Cebu when she sent him a message early morning on July 16 to again ask for money.

It was also then that Tocmo decided to finally meet with him to claim the cash that she was asking for.  But he did not say how much.

“Wa gyud koy plano nga mapatay siya. Nalipay man unta ko nga nagkita mi ba,” said Gabutero.

Gabutero said they started to argue after he saw that Tocmo was talking to other men via online messaging.  He also saw the different Facebook accounts that she was using on her phone.

Because of his rage, he choked Tocmo to death.

Hiding Rhea’s body

Valleser said that Tocmo may have been dead when Gabutero’s mother returned to the boarding house at about 6 a.m.

The mother, whom he did not name, asked Gabutero to open the door of his room so that she could cook rice for their breakfast.

Valleser said that Gabutero was sweating when he opened the door but he was alone.

The police chief said it was possible that Gabutero hid Tocmo’s body under his bed then.

Gabutero’s mother told the police that she was unaware that there was a dead woman in the boarding house.

At around 7 p.m., the mother said she saw a box inside her son’s room.  But Gabutero told her that this contained some clothes.

At around 10 p.m., she saw Gabutero carry the box to his motorcycle.  He also asked his younger brother, a minor, to accompany him as he delivers the box.

The drive to Tisa

Valleser said they were able to retrace Gabutero’s travel to Barangay Tisa, where he left the box, from CCTV footage that they secured.

Labangon police, he said, were able to secure at least three CCTV footage.

The first footage was from a roadside establishment in Sitio Kabalakan in Banawa.   Gabutero’s motorcycle passed by the area at around 10:17 p.m. 

Another footage showed that at 10:27 p.m. the motorcycle passed by the Katipunan extension area, close to where Tocmo’s body was found.

The third footage that was recorded at 10:32 p.m. on July 16 showed that Gabutero’s motorcycle was already making its way home to Barangay Guadalupe.

The box that contained Tocmo’s body was found the next day.

“Ato nang i-erase ang doubt kung kinsa gyud ang naglabay sa patayng lawas. Ang ga drive sa motor si Simeon Gabutero alias “Gabro.” Ang iyang backride ang iyang igsuon… Mao ni kauban niya. Siya maoy nagsabak sa karton [on] the way ngadto sa area,” he said.

Accessory to the crime?

However, Valleser said, he could not yet say if Gabutero’s brother can be considered an accessory to his crime.

The boy, he said, told the police that he was unaware what was inside the box and that he only accompanied Gabutero because he needed someone to hold the box during the travel.

Valleser said that he could not also detain the boy unless they are able to find proof of his involvement in the crime because he was not covered by their hot pursuit operation against Gabutero.

Also, they are yet to locate the motorcycle that Gabutero used in transporting the box that contained Tocmo’s body.

“Matod pa sa iyang mama, gikuha daw sa iyang uyoan. Among gipa check ngadto sa Toledo, kay nagtuo mi nga sa basin giuli ang motor kay sa Toledo man to nakuha… Among gicheck didto, wala didto ang motor didto giuli,” the police chief said.


Labangon police took possession of the clothes that Gabutero and his brother wore when they disposed Tocmo’s body. | Emmariel Ares

Murder charge

Valleser said they already took possession of the clothes that Gabutero and his brother wore when they disposed Tocmo’s body, as well as the clothes that the suspect wore when he sold his victim’s cellphone.

The evidences that they now have, together with Gabutero’s extra-judicial confession, were more than enough to support the filing of a murder charge against him.

But the filing of the complaint will have to be delayed because they needed to wait for the return of Tocmo’s family to Cebu so that they could act as complainants in murder charge against him.

If they fail to do so, the police will have to initiate the filing of the complaint, Valleser said.


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TAGS: death, Guadalupe, killing, money, Rhea Mae Tocmo, Simeon Gabutero Jr.

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