Man charged with murder after faking lover’s suicide

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MANILA, Philippines—The Quezon City Police has filed a murder complaint against a man suspected of killing his live-in partner during a quarrel toward the end of July and then reporting her death as a suicide.

Inspector Elmer Monsalve, homicide section chief of the QCPD’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit, said the case against Patrick Penano, 39, was filed only on Friday, a month after the death of Mary Jane Dignos, 28, a college student, after a friend of the woman came forward to tell investigators she had heard the couple fighting shortly before the alleged suicide was reported.

Penano, a call center agent, reported his lover’s death last July 29 as a suicide. He said he found her hanging by the neck with a necktie  at 4 a.m. that day, cut her down  and took her to the East Avenue Medical Center where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

He said he and his lover had gone to bed at 11 p.m. the night before and found her hanging by the neck when he woke up at 4 a.m. He said  he knew no reason why Dignos would want to take her own life.

The case was entered in police records as a suicide until a friend of the victim came forward and told investigators she heard the couple fighting before 4 a.m. last July 29, Monsalve said.

The woman said she had dropped by the couple’s apartment in Villa Beatriz, Old Balara, early that morning to fetch Dignos so they could go job-hunting together.

In her sworn statement to the police, the witness said: “When I arrived at their place, I heard them fighting since Patrick was jealous of Mary Jane’s former boyfriend and Patrick threatened to kill Mary Jane.”

The woman left quickly, only to learn hours later that her friend was already dead.

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