By JOEY NACALABAN
THE man blamed by the police for the grisly murders of members of his own family in a subdivision in Parañaque on Monday grew up and was schooled in Cagayan de Oro.
He was identified as 47-year-old Manolo Benigno de Leon, a former executive of a multinational food and drink processing company.
Police have theorized that depression made de Leon shoot and kill his wife Dianne Cristel and their two children inside their Greenheights Village home on Amethyst St., Barangay San Isidro in Parañaque. Investigators said de Leon then killed himself with the same gun — a caliber .45 pistol.
De Leon belonged to a prominent family here that lived in a Macasandig community, the same neighborhood where the old house of the late former mayor Pablo Magtajas still stands. His father and namesake was a former town mayor in Bukidnon; his late mother had served as a correspondent of the Philippine Daily Inquirer here in the ’90s and published the now defunct weekly Mindanao Herald before becoming an editor at the Manila Times.
He was schooled at Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan and belonged to XU High School Batch ’88.
Fresh from college, de Leon returned to the city from Manila and taught social sciences and English in a private school in Kauswagan in the ’90s before he joined Nestlé Philippines where he ended up spending much of his career as a corporate executive. There, he rose to become a senior-level executive who specialized in sales training and business integration. He was knowledgeable on sales management, marketing, marketing strategy, and retail.
Until last year, de Leon reportedly held a senior-level position and went to work at Nestlé’s Rockwell Center office in Makati City.
Various media reports showed that the Parañaque police have theorized that depression due to financial and personal problems made de Leon shoot his wife Dianne Cristel to the head. Police said it looked like she was trying to escape when she was attacked because she was on the driver’s seat of their Toyota Fortuner in the garage.
His nine-year-old son Miguel Lorenzo and 14-year-old daughter Margarita Sofia were also shot dead inside their house — the boy was found in a bedroom while the teenager was on a sofa, in the living room.
De Leon was found bathed in his own blood near the door of the bedroom where his son was shot dead. His body sprawled near a loaded pistol.
The Inquirer quoted Parañaque police chief Col. Rogelio Rosales as saying that de Leon stopped working last year due to health problems, resulting in “mental and emotional changes.”
A company executive told the Gold Star Daily that de Leon stopped working for Nestlé last year but he could not say if it was a choice made by the Cagayanon.
“That was after he had undergone heart bypass abroad,” said the executive who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized by the company.
Police said the family, since then, had to rely on de Leon’s wife who worked for another multinational company.
Another Inquirer report quoted Rosales as saying that the de Leon couple had quarrelled before the shootings, and that investigators did not see signs of forced entry in the house.