Skeletal remains found in Cebu belonged to man missing for 7 years
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Jolan Tapales would have turned 31 years old this year but his life was tragically cut short.
His skeletal remains were unearthed at a construction site in Upper Linao in Brgy. Lipata, Minglanilla town in southern Cebu on Thursday, October 12.
Jolan’s mother, Saturnina, immediately identified the remains as that of her son, who had been missing for seven years.
In an interview with reporters, Saturnina said she knew the skeleton belonged to her missing son by pointing out that the basketball jersey shirt bore their family name.
The 57-year-old said her son went missing on July 6, 2016, after leaving their home in Brgy. Maghaway in the neighboring city of Talisay.
At that time, Jolan was 24 years old. He worked as a habal-habal driver, his mother added.
“Wala ra siya nagsaba nga mulakaw siya ato,” said Saturnina. (He didn’t tell us he was leaving at that time.)
She also revealed that a day before he went missing, they saw Jolan crying in their home. But the 24-year-old reportedly refused to share with his family what made him tear up.
When Jolan failed to return home, his family filed a missing person report at Barangay Maghaway and Talisay City Police Station.
However, there were no leads and no witnesses who might provide information on Jolan’s whereabouts, prompting the family to seek other means.
They traveled as far as Balamban town in western Cebu to seek a witch-doctor, said Saturnina. The witch-doctor told them that somebody killed Jolan.
“Pero wala na niya masulti kung aha siya gilubong… or kinsa ba kaha naghimo,” Saturnina added. (But he didn’t say where he was buried or who did it.)
Jolan is Saturnina’s third child. He has seven other siblings.
Saturnina described her son as soft-spoken and someone who avoided conflict. Jolan had also never been engaged in anything illicit such as the illegal drugs trade, she added.
“Maghilak man gani na kung siya pasanginlan ug daotan ug amo na siyang ignan ayaw og sugot (nga ikaw pasanginlan),” she added. (He would cry if he was accused of doing something wrong and we would tell him not to allow people to accuse him.)
Jolan also loved basketball, his mother said.
When pictures of skeletal remains found in Upper Linao in Brgy. Lipata, Minglanilla, located right beside Brgy. Maghaway in Talisay City, were published, Saturnina said she immediately recognized the basketball jersey.
Upon arriving at the Minglanilla Police Station, she positively identified the clothing item and the skeleton as that of her missing son.
Saturnina believed her son had been murdered. But as to who and what the motive was, she said she may never find out.
The grieving mother was not inclined to pursue a case against the possible perpetrator, saying she just wanted to prioritize giving her son a proper burial.
But Saturnina said she hoped the person responsible for Jolan’s death would come forward and surrender.
“Mu-surrender lang unta siya,” said Saturnina. (I just hope he/she would surrender.)
Minglanilla is a first-class municipality located 19 kilometers southeast of Cebu City.
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