Gambling debt linked to Tyron Perez's death

Posted at 12/30/11 10:05 PM

MANILA, Philippines – A gambling problem may have led actor Tyron Perez to kill himself, based on the testimonies of the actor's friends Priscilla and Alvin Salazar, police said Friday.

Perez, who was found dead inside a parked Toyota Altis along Barangay Ugong, Valenzuela City Thursday night, was allegedly saddled with massive debts due to his frequent visits to a casino.

Perez was even forced to sell his wife’s car to pay off the debts, according to the testimonies.

Police are currently conducting a thorough investigation to determine if the 26-year-old actor indeed committed suicide or if he was murdered.

"’Yon talaga ang lumalabas dito. Mayroon siyang pahiwatig na magpapakamatay siya, ayon sa mga nakuha naming testigo. Pero as of this moment, hindi namin sinasabing nag-suicide siya,”said Senior Inspector Arthur Quinones.

Aside from gambling problems, Perez also had problems with his wife Liv Espino.

Marital problems

Perez, whose real name is Jojo Malonzo Perez, had been staying at the house of the Salazars because of his marital problems.

"Basta ang alam ko lang may problema siya pero hindi niya masyadong dini-detalye, hindi masyadong madaldal," his friend Priscilla said.

Perez's wife, meanwhile, admitted that they were having problems but said it was just normal for any relationship to undergo trials.

She said they were together last December 26 and Perez even called her moments before he died.

“Sabi niya na hindi na niya kaya, gagawin na niya. ‘Yung last text niya, hindi na daw siya aabot. Parang may nahulog lang, narinig ko lang, ‘yung very vivid na naalala ko, ‘yung huling hininga na parang struggling,” she said.

Reports indicated that residents of Barangay Ugong, Valenzuela City noticed a car with plate number ZSP-875 at the side of the road as early as 8 a.m. on Thursday.

Perez's body was found dead by authorities at the backseat of the car around 7 p.m.

Police said Perez died of a gunshot wound in his head from a .22 caliber firearm, which was found beside his body.

"Sa cross-examination ng ating SOCO may gunshot wound sa right temple, isa lang," said Quinones.

The police will run a ballistics exam on the gun, while the actor’s cellphone will undergo a forensics test at Camp Crame. -- Reports from Doland Castro and Jerome Lantin, ABS-CBN News