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Case Solved: Whodunnit

Posted by on 13. July 2015

A commotion interrupts Commercenter’s Appreciation Night.

A murder of an under cover agent Jojo Garcia happens at Commercenter’s Appreciation Night.  The full course meal suddenly turned into a full course murder after a commotion between the Investigating Agents, the Company’s CEO Nicholas Magnus and the Head of Security Julio Rodrigo.  Each one has a motive but which one stands out the most to actually murder an under cover agent and send threats to the Company’s CEO in Nicholas Magnus. Whodunnit? #BreakoutPH #BIT #Whodunnit

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Commercenter has emerged as a top mall in 25 years

It’s the 25th year of Commercenter and as part of the celebration, we got to see the Company’s milestone.  Starting from the 3 people in the groundbreaking which is Valdez, Tinio and Rodrigo.  It emerged to be among the leading lifestyle mall with the leadership of Brian Valdez after parting of ways with Tinio.  The third person in the ground breaking was the current head of security of the Mall, Julio Rodrigo.  In 2014, Nicholas Magnus emerged as the new CEO and even won the Best Executive of the Philippine Mall Awards with Commercenter being in the mall in the south.  Nicholas Magnus served as a gracious host for the dinner though we did see his perfectionist side after scolding Rina Cruz, the operations manager and Manu Tino, the assistant head of security.  The dinner was great with a full course meal served by Belly Rub.

Nicholas Magnus has taken Commercenter to the top.

Everything was going as planned until we heard some gun shots and then a commotion happened.  Julio Rodrigo confronts Nicholas Magnus on allowing some undercover agents in the Company without his knowledge.  The private investigators were also confronting Magnus for allowing the murder to happen as they lost their personnel in Jojo Garcia.  Who killed Jojo Garcia? Whodunnit?

The evidences.

We got pieces of evidence and the first thing we noted was  the parking ticket. We had to locate a car with a plate number ZLS627 and look for additional evidences.  Before finding the car, we found our first suspect, Butch Balmaceda, Guard on duty.

Butch Balmaceda was the Guard on Duty

Butch was under Julio Rodrigo and Manu Tinio and he was a perfect picture of a suspect.  He wore sunglasses to hide his stressed out eyes and he was smoking heavily.  It turns out that he was drinking last night and was sleepless before going to work.  When inquired on why he looks stressed, he mentioned that his wife is sick and is really desperate.  He is desperate enough to do anything probably with some incentive from his bosses Julio or Manu.  He didn’t look like a mastermind but could be the gunman if people would take advantage of his desperate situation.  Since we were finding who killed Jojo Garcia, Butch immediately move on top of the list.

The car had a ticking bomb inside.

We found the car with the Plate Number ZLS627 and there was a bomb inside.  There also was a box in the name of Julian Rodriguez? Is he the same person as Julio Rodrigo? That we had to check. We later found a can of San Miguel Beer beside the car, which led us back to Butch, he admitted to drinking today and it was a can of San Miguel Beer.  Facts ascertained, he was near the car and there is a bomb in it.  It also makes you think on why he has been drinking lately.  It’s possible that he’s building courage in doing a gruesome crime.

The threat to the building might lead to the rise of Magnus to power.

We then went to Nicholas Magnus to inquire about the case.  He commissioned the private investigators because there was a threat to his life.  He had to go back on his potential enemies and his rise as the president of Commercenter.  It turns out, he was the son of Brian Valdez outside wedlock which is why he carries his mother’s family name and not Valdez.  He’s been hidden for a time and slowly trained to be the President to succeed Brian Valdez. It turns out that not everybody was ok with this setup as Julio Rodrigo had been salivating over the post being among the founders.  Julio was a friend of Brian Valdez and was appointed as head of security in the past, which he assumes to this day.   We also noted that the reason Tinio left the Company was that he had a misunderstanding with Brian Valdez in the past, which meant it was a hostile separation.   We also inquired if he is familiar with the car with the plate number ZLS627 and he confirmed it was his car.  He had access to the car with the bomb so that means, it’s possible that the he placed the bomb there too. But why?  It’s possible for insurance claims.  We checked on who drove him to work today.  It was assistant head of security, Manu Tinio.  Upon knowing that Manu was a Tinio, it was too much as a coincidence.  As they say, there’s no such thing as coincidence.  Unfortunately, Magnus had no idea on his relationship with a Tinio.

Julio Rodrigo had Coveted Magnus posts for years.

Julio Rodrigo had the most to gain if something happened to Nicholas Magnus as it would lead him to takeover the Company. He hated Magnus from the start as he came from Nowhere to take the Company from him.  He was the obvious suspect with  the obvious motive of gaining corporate control.  One thing was odd though, he was attached to the Company as he was part of the groundbreaking so placing the bomb in Magnus car would be out of place.   Despite his being left out, he stayed in the company.  He did mention that it’s possible that Magnus could be behind this too.  He vouched for Manu Tinio, his assistant head of security, as a good kid.  We’ve also checked if Manu Tino was related to one of the founder of the company and he mentioned that it’s just coincidence.  He’s too obvious of a suspect and it’s possible that he could have masterminded this.

Having the Tinio Name seems more like coincidence.

We also met a bartender by the name of Cocoy who said he was not in good terms with Julio but was on good terms with Manu as they smoke together.  One important thing information we got was that Manu smokes.  Next to our key Guy, Manu Tinio.  Ever since the Tinio name came up, it’s been the hostile separation between Valdez and Tinio that comes to mind.  Again I say, there’s no such thing as coincidence.  We saw him wearing a white barong but now, he changed to a black short sleeves polo top. He alleged that he changed because of food that spilled on his clothes. He also denied being related to a Tinio as well as driving Magnus today.  He hadn’t been truthful though as he has been evasive to all the questions for the night. Being the driver of Magnus car also meant he had access to place the bomb there too.  He was number one on our mastermind list but we had no evidence against him.

Rina Cruz was the operations manager and had an earlier argument with Magnus

Rina Cruz was the least obvious of a suspect but he was scolded by Nicholas Magnus at the event. This could mean he wasn’t on good terms with the President.  We learned that Rina is a company person and have had good relationship with the former president Brian Valdez. He also mentions of Magnus being a perfectionist, which led to the argument earlier during the day.  We also inquired about Manu Tinio and also dismissed his association with the former partner Tinio as coincidence.  She also has full control and access over the log book which can be an evidence.

Notice the first name in the logbook is Manu Tinio.

Manu Tinio was the perfect mastermind but we didn’t have evidence against him.  Initially, we set Butch as our top suspect as being desperate could easily motivate him to be paid to kill Jojo Garcia and threaten the life of Magnus.  Butch didn’t look like a mastermind but if the purpose was to locate who killed Jojo Garcia, Butch could be the man who pulled the trigger.  We would have filled that in our accusation sheet until we found a piece of evidence by the Emergency Exit.

The murder weapon and the barong.

We found the murder weapon accompanied by the bloodied barong, a pack of marlboro and a picture of the founders at the groundbreaking ceremony.  We had our man.  Manu Tinio was wearing the barong before the murder and the picture just showed that it was something linked to his family being a Tinio and the Marlboro was an added evidence.  Cocoy admitted to be smoking within the area with Manu.  For the last item to seal the case, we asked on Cocoy, the bartender.  Who else wears barong in the company, it was only Manu Tinio. Nailed it!!! Whodunnit = Manu Tinio!

My Super Team of Detectives Louie, Roch and Gianne.

We then submitted our accusation and after awhile we got the answer and as the detectives were presenting the case.

  • Butch was the one who placed the Bomb in the car.  The can of San Miguel Beer was found beside the car, which Butch admitted drinking.
  • Nicholas Magnus has a stake in the insurance, which would also have given him the motive to kill.
  • Rina Cruz had control over the logbook and also had a stake in the insurance, which would have given her the motive to kill.
  • Julio Rodrigo had everything to gain and had remorse for Nicholas Magnus, which was motive enough to kill
  • Manu Tinio’s barong was found with the murder weapon and was seen by several bystanders running after the murder.

The swerve before getting to know Whodunnit.

At the end of the day, the detective arrested Butch for placing the bomb in the car and Julio for masterminding everything until Butch confessed that it was Manu who masterminded the murder.  Out came the truth that Manu was out for revenge for what the rise of power of Nicholas Magnus has done to his family.  Again, I say, there is no such thing as a coincidence.

It was surreal being a part of the first ever public showing of Breakout Interactive Theater.  The actors were convincing and spontaneous.  It felt like trying to unlock the case one clue after another and letting the sense of truth overwhelm the lies thrown at you.  I also love working with my team or Roch, Gianne and Louie as we went on to the correct ending of this one.  Til the next case of Breakout Interactive Theater, this is Detective Franc with Detectives Roch, Gianne and Louie saying Case Closed!!!

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