Actor Tyron Perez found dead in car
Evidence points to suicide, but other angles not ruled out, police sayBy Kristine Felisse Mangunay
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The lifeless body of actor Jojo Malonzo Perez, known as Tyron Perez in entertainment circles, was found inside his car in Valenzuela City on Thursday night, sending shock waves throughout the show business community, and stunning his family and friends.
Police are still looking into the circumstances that led to his death, but an initial investigation showed that the former GMA 7 talent could be fighting bouts of depression, which could have led him to kill himself. Perez sustained a lone gunshot on his right temple.
“We are looking at other angles, but suicide is 80 to 90 percent possible,” PO3 Harvey Aranas of the Valenzuela City Police investigation unit told the Inquirer.
Aranas said the actor was found inside his black Toyota Altis parked along the service road of the Northern Luzon Expressway in Barangay Ugong around 7:30 p.m.
The engine, as well as the air-conditioning system, were still running, police said. A sun visor had been placed on the windshield.
Aranas added that the car’s hazard lights were not on.
Residents in the vicinity told investigators that they noticed the car parked in the area as early as 8 a.m.
“But they did not check the vehicle because they thought it was just parked there. Nobody could see anything from the outside because the windows were tinted,” Aranas said.
The residents finally called the authorities when they saw that the vehicle was still parked in the same spot during the night.
Since all the doors of the vehicle were locked, Aranas said the police had to break the left back window to be able to enter the car.
Perez’s body was found on the right side of the car’s backseat, his head leaning against the door.
“There was a .22 cal. firearm in the vehicle, and an empty shell attached to the gun chamber,” Aranas said.
He added that Perez could have been dead for six to eight hours, because his body was already stiff when it was found.
In his statement, Alvin Salazar, who identified himself as a friend of the victim, said that Perez’s wife, Liv, had told his wife Priscilla about his plan to commit suicide.
The couple were having marital problems, Liv admitted in a television interview, so the victim, who had appeared in the television show “Starstruck,” had not been living in their house in Parañaque City, and was staying with Salazar.
Liv said that the actor even called her before he was found dead.
“Narinig ko lang siya. Nag-struggle siya huminga. Nahulog na yung phone, hello ako ng hello, wala na (I heard him struggle with his breathing. The phone apparently fell, but I kept on saying hello. There was nothing from the other end),” Liv said.
SPO1 Ronaldo Ruiz, case investigator, however, told the Inquirer that Liv had yet to give her statement to police.
According to Salazar, Perez was also having financial problems. He said that the actor at one point had pawned a car to a casino. The vehicle was redeemed by a friend, Salazar added.
On Dec. 27, Salazar said the actor had shown him a gun. It was the same firearm found inside Perez’s vehicle, according to Ruiz.
Police are still trying to find out who owns the gun.
Senior Insp. Arthur Quiñones, head of the investigation unit, said that even the exchange of messages between the victim and a friend, Priscilla Salazar, indicated the victim’s frame of mind.
“Madam, parang hindi ko na kaya (I don’t think I can take it anymore),” Perez reportedly told Priscilla.
Quiñones, however, said he was not discounting the fact that there could be foul play involved in the actor’s death.
“The evidence we have retrieved so far points to suicide, but we are also looking at other angles,” he explained.
Ruiz, for his part, said the actor’s body would be subjected to a paraffin test by the Northern Police District Crime Laboratory.
“If he is positive for gunpowder, then we can rule out foul play. If negative, then foul play comes into the picture,” he said.
Ruiz added that the firearm would be subjected to a ballistics examination to determine if the bullet that pierced through the actor’s head came from it.
The actor’s cell phone will also undergo a digital forensics test in Camp Crame, Quiñones said.
Perez’s body was taken to Loyola Memorial Park in Parañaque.
On Jan. 2, the actor will be brought to his hometown of Concepcion in Tarlac province, where he will be buried.