The four students blamed for the death of Grade 7 student John Mark Lucero faced investigators on Tuesday todeny that they physically abused the victim days before he died.
A report by GMA News' Steve Dailisan on 24 Oras said the four told the Women and Children Protection Division of the Taytay Police that Lucero, who had leukemia, even asked fortheir help against his enemies.
"Samahan ko raw po siya tapos sabi ko ayaw ko po kasi baka kami balikan nung mga kaaway niya," one of the students said.
"Sinabi niya lang po pangalan namin kasi 'di po namin siya tinulungan," another one said.
The four had earlier said Lucero was being threatened by an outsider.
On the other hand, the other two students said they were surprised when they learned that they were being blamed for Lucero's death. They said they knew the victim as a kind and friendly person.
"Mabait po. Di nga po yun nananakit. Nagulat nga lang ako na bigla na lang ako sinama sa pangalan," one student said.
"Di po ako makapaniwala na nadamay ako dun," another said.
Lucero and the four were students of Manuel I. Santos Memorial National High School, which has already submitted an incident report with the Department of Education but has yet to issue a formal statement to the media.
One of the students' parents said she fears her child might get hurt after reports of Lucero's death.
"Natatakot po ako na baka iyong anak ko naglalakad diyan e anuhin siya, suntukin o bugbugin din o ihagis diyan," she said.
PO2 Ahrenz Comaad, who is investigating the case, said another student also claimed he was bullied by the four students. He, however, said the student has yet to proceed to the Taytay Police due to fever.
"Pumunta po kanina yung [mother] nga po, e nagkalagnat [yung student] so aantayin po natin na maka-recover muna," Comaad said.
DepEd earlier said it will intensify its anti-bullying campaign amid the death of Lucero, who dreamed of becoming a soldier one day.
The family of Lucero refused to conduct an autopsy on the victim's body due to financial constraints.
His aunt, Wella Abello, called on the students to tell the truth before the victim's burial on April 16.
"Sana po magsabi sila ng totoo kasi hindi naman po magsasalitai yong isang bata na [nabawian] ng buhay," Abello said, urging the school to monitor their students better.
"Bantayan po nila mga estudyante nila para wala ng nangyayaring ganyan sa mga estudyante," Abello said. —GMA News