Young and murdered

Winton Lou G. Ynion

A friend asked me while I was inside a bus on my way home from work whether I know somebody named Winton Ynion. I made a mental note of the funny sounding name, like how it was pronounced by somebody who has a speech defect, probably with a malformed palate. His name did not resonate in any of my recent or past memories. I was certain I have not met this man before. Upon reaching my place, I checked my emails and there in one of the messages from a yahoogroups that I am a member of, I learned who Winton was and what happened to him.

I googled his name, viewed his Facebook like a stalker. He was from the same province, Iloilo, where both my parents came from, a good five years ahead my age. He was already finished with college while I was still a childish boy of fifteen playing with my friends in the pineapple fields of South Cotabato. He finished his undergraduate with honor from West Visayas State University, took his graduate studies from the University of the Philippines Diliman and was an assistant professor at De La Salle University. He has also won a Palanca, the country’s most prestigious Literary award.

How technology can amass and provide astounding amount of information but how little does it allow us to truly understand things and people.  I may have known a lot about him but this means really nothing.

He has accomplished a lot at such a young age. He can be a subject of the expression we always hear when somebody green yet well-accomplished dies:  “He’s so young, so full of promise. He can’t be dead”. In fact he is dead. He was brutally murdered inside his condominium unit on a rainy August night. His body was found in his bathroom, hand and legs tied.

It’s funny how we have all worked hard to achieve all the recognitions, successes, and touched lives of people only to find ourselves occupying a three square inch newsbrief in the police report section of a daily broadsheet or worse sensationalized beyond recognition in a smutty local tabloid.

What is even funnier, in a lamentable sense, is the fact that the justice system of this country will remain untrue to its name. It will not serve justice, not even a pinch of it. Ynion’s family will only see his name in the growing folders of unsolved murder cases.

My cynicism was glaring, in reality, it was screaming. Because this country has failed its youths so many times that I’ve lost my trust on its institutions. I cannot pretend to be hopeful in a system that does not give a damn to the people it is supposed to be serving.

Winton might disagree with me if he is still living this time. He may even ask me why at my age I am already this disillusioned and cynical. He would’ve even convinced me to reconsider my stance and look at the bright side of things, that there are people silently working to make this country better.

But he’d never be able to hear my answer. He is dead.


39 thoughts on “Young and murdered”

  1. prof Ynion was my Literature prof in University of the East Manila. i still remember, he was a bit late for our class, he entered the door and said “ano ba naman tong UE, bakit walang elevator?”. he was tired & sweaty, our room is located 5th floor of CAS bldg., but still had a smile on his face. thank you sir for the knowledge, the laughter, and everything.

  2. Its Winton 2nd death anniversary rigth now. I dont know this guy but nakakapanghinayang that at a very young age a poet lost in this world. T.T….

  3. I enjoyed reading this one. I share the same sentiment. I also cringe at the fact that the media even had his name wrong to think that he’s a Palanca awardee. I am in shock about learning this news from a friend only two days ago. I feel so bad that I cringe on the fact that I might be the last to know of his demise. I will definitely miss him and the fact that he died right under my nose.

  4. I was just browsing through facebook when I saw a picture of him with one of my professor’s. I got curious about the comment and tried reading the older post on my professor’s page, then, I got really curious so I went searching on Goolgle and Facebook (anything that I can find about him). I don’t really know the person but I feel really sad about what happened to him, I agree with what you said nobody deserves to die brutally..

    When will it stop???

    Or will it ever stop???!?

  5. I heard about his death prior to returning home from Singapore.

    He was a schoolmate of mine both in UP High School and in West Visayas State University. We weren’t that close at all, and and there isn’t much I can say about him other than he was an intelligent person. And he most definitely did not deserve what happened to him.

  6. Instead of endless verbal fireworks and explosions, could we just sit in silence and pray for his soul- and ours too? I bet this would make a meaningful difference! Whadyathink?

  7. To ll those who have written on this web ” Going Agaisnt the Current ” about my best friend Winton( I call her ate, anyway), will have to say, thank you for spending time to relive Winton’s life through your verbal fireworks and explosions! Well, I think that the most that we can possibly do to anyone (gay, straight,whatever socially constructed or deconstructed term you have for all creatures, whether imagined or real/ surreal) being mercilessly murdered is to stop projecting our own angst on screen. One thing is certain, an innocent life was taken; families and friends mourn and are in pain. Angish is absolute, I agree with Emily Dickinson. And the pain of losing someone is not hard to master. Yes, I am in deep pain, who wouldn’t if such thing would happen to someone ? I know only one thing, and that ceaseless prayer for his soul would make things better. So, instead of manggling and rambling words, may I just invie you all to have a momen of silence, and pray for his soul and for our souls as well? Why not try quietude? This is good or us especially in this ecclectic and impatient space. Thank you so much, and may our lives be meaningful to others before we are GONE. ( I hope , peacefully gone..)

  8. thanks for the comments, red. let me tell you this: i do not know winton, never did i meet him when he was still living.

    your claims, if we go back to the trails of these comments, are myopic, if not downright unsubstantiated. they are based on either non sequitor or hasty generalizations.

    had he been not queer, would things have been different?

    if we see two guys riding a train, for example, one gay and the other is straight (granting there is such thing as straight) will the gay guy have a higher probability of being murdered?

    this is awesome. if insurance companies know this, they would charge higher premiums on gays.

  9. let me put what i meant in simple terms. That your friend Winton who was one of the most brilliant fellows you had known, picked up the wrong guy who was after his money or property. He brought the guy over to his condominium and sooner or later they had arguments, most likely related to money than anything. They guy he picked up most likely was either deep into drugs or badly needing money, and was able to conceal his real intentions until the condominium incident. Then you John write ‘What is even funnier in a lamentable sense is the fact that the justice system of this country will remain untrue to its name. It will not serve justice, not even a pinch of it.’ Well, I share your lamentations. But my point is that the situation in other developed countries such as the U.S. may be equally dangerous, if you concentrate on crimes committed against gay people. Im sure that you have learned about TV Directors, well-known coutouriers, and other popular moneyed gays were killed the same way Winton did. That includes Versace. another point which scientists would agree with me is that statistics should be looked at various angles. Crime rate may be high in a country, but when you look at classifications of these crimes, you will deduce certain patterns or trends. If you look for example crimes committed in the U.S., based on their statistics, the pattern is that crimes against person dominates over those againts property. On the other hand, here in the Philippines, the contrary is true. But I would like to believe that if you isolated data on crimes committed agains male homosexuals, the scenario that would predominate would be that a wrong guy was picked up for sexual pleasure, and that if it were in the U.S., the guy who would turn killer would be homophobic and that the crime was against person. if it were in the Philippines, most likely it would be crime against property. whatever you say about the justice system or probably how dangerous this country is, it would all level off if you just concentrate on the specific scenario.

    I know that if you are close to the victim, you would just ignore the possibilities that he might have been killed uselessly since he was really brilliant. But since I dont know him, I look at an angle where friends of his like you and those who comment refuse to look at. That is, that assuming he was gay, the very likely perpetrator would be sexual partner/s whom he did not personally know.

  10. i used to get money from my parents…following your logic…I WAS ENDANGERING THEIR LIVES!!!

    gosh. i wanna die.

  11. preference will always be an issue because gays are a good source of money and that makes their lives very very dangerous!!!

  12. Nakakaloko kayochiwariwap, anikliva ang mga pinopyokameldz? Nadedlak na ‘yong kyoo pinagchochorvahan nyopachiwaz. Majiya nga kayez sa mga balatchina ‘nyo, may badette-badette eklavu pa! Che!



  13. I was so busy these past weeks and I was not able to read any article about our fellow’s tragic death. I received a text informing the alliance that a certain Winton has been killed and a condolence message and questions about him only were sent.

    As I read your article batchmate, tears kept falling because of the loss we (the country and the alliance) had because of his untimely and heinous death.

    Preference is not an issue – and it will never be. Winton was murdered by heartless and evil murderer (s).

    Let us all pray for justice.

    Let us pray for his (Winton’s) soul.

    Let us pray for the people who mocked him even until his death. Winton is a greater person than them.

    I have few things known about Winton but with these few things, I admired him.

  14. okay, point well taken. there must have been some mistatement that caused the difference in our understanding…

    i know you were, as letlet said, sincere. thanks for passing by.

  15. I am quite sure that the encyclopedia that I read about homosexuals is that they are prone to be done harm in their seeking for sexual partners and that must the ‘prone to homicide’. It is very relevant because most of the talented people especially in the arts and humanities are gays. So the point being is that, even if you are talented, and your libido dominates your daily choices, then you are facing more dangerous situations than people who keep their libidos at bay, not only gays but especially gays because their sexuality is considered tolerated but not totally accepted.

  16. Methinks C. Tablazon got mad as to what I had commented about. Anyway, the “funny” story was about an entry he submitted in Don Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature which won 1st prize. It was for you to find out as to why his “winning” was funny. I said “ridiculous if I disclose it here” because I did not want to bastardize Mr. Ynion. He is dead, and amidst my innocence of his whatabouts, I could say that many had been inspired by him.

  17. Red,

    It seems that you are really sincere in your comment. Homosexual does not mean somebody prone to homicide, perhaps you read “homicidal?” Anyway like John said, his sexuality is irrelevant to his murder. No human being deserves to be butchered like that. Even animals in pain are euthanized. I pray for justice.

  18. i do not see the point of you mentioning that he is gay or the relevance of the right source of information where you got that statement, which i doubt if such exists in reality. in case he is gay, then that cannot be true because he was the one murdered here.

    and besides his being gay, if he indeed was, is not the question here. crimes happen because our institutions are a failure in securing the safety of its people.

    but thanks anyway.

  19. I do not know the guy Winton. But deep down I suspect that he is a gay man. I do not remember now whether I have looked up the meaning/explanation of the word ‘homosexual’ in a dictionary or is it a encyclopedia. I suspect it was an encyclopedia. It says that a homosexual, after defining it, is somebody who is prone to homicide. Pardon my guess, I just remembered this weird encyclopedia when I read about this story. Sumalangit nawa ang kaluluwa nya.

  20. Letlet,

    Thanks for leaving a comment. I have not read any of his works, but i will look for them and write about them.

  21. He has a niece that he was fully supporting financially to finish school. Let us pray for her and his mom. His life was extraordinary and his death was utterly horrible. I went to school with him ages ago and never knew what he was up to. His death showed me the achievements that he accomplished that only a few in their lifetime can do. His writing will live on…

  22. rj,

    i just been informed about the death of winton lou… he was my classmate in highschool… and let’s just say that he is a believer and an achiever… we are proud to know him. and also to be part of his short life… let’s just offer a prayer for him …. and justice for winton lou ynion…..

  23. I just want to clarify which “him” and what choice you are referring to in the last line of your last comment, and who this comment is addressing. I do not know whether to read in the context of my second response or as a response to Prince Golez. Thanks.

  24. I’ve also read about the “funny” and the “ridiculous” story of his life, if these modifiers are indeed appropriate, but I opted not to include this in the article for I do not want readers to judge the man.

    Let him have his choice.

  25. Well, Prince, following the logic of your statement, you hinting at this “funny story” doesn’t only render you as ridiculous as your witless emoticon, but as shameless as well, especially at a time like this. Anyhow, Winton had always been open regarding the tragedies in his personal life that you find “funny” and “ridiculous,” so there wouldn’t be any surprise now to those who really know him.

  26. I heard that Winton is orphaned by her biological parents. And, he only had a nanay-nanayan here in the province. I heard a funny story bout him, but of course, it would be ridiculous if I disclose it here. 🙂

  27. Thanks for this, RJ. My friend and I were just talking about the same sentiments raised in this entry. Winton himself would have cringed at the horrifying irony of it all.

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