One of the stars' most sought-after fashion designers in the '80sand renowned furniture maker Ernest Santiago, 68, was found dead inside his room this morning, December 16, at 10:00 a.m. A source said that the estimated time of his death was between 4:00 and 5:00 a.m.
His body bore no stab or bullet wound, but a gash at the back of his head was the most probable cause of his death. A hardobject, according to the theories of local authorities, was used to hit the back of the victim's head.
Santiago's place was in a mess when the police arrived at the crime scene. Theinvestigation is presently pointing to robbery as the motive for murder. HisMitsubishi pick-up van, an undetermined amount of cash, expensive jewelry, andother valuables are missing.
"Mag-isa lang siya sa house niya. Wala namangkahina-hinalang nangyari. A friend went to his house to deliver agift last night [Saturday]," claimed one of the victim's colleagues in the fashion industry.
Investigators have a hunch that the suspect was a friend ofErnest. There was no sign of forced entry or struggle.
His body is presently undergoing an autopsy.
Interment will be at 7:00 p.m. Monday, December 17, at the Sanctuario de San Antonio, ForbesPark in Makati.
Ernest, or more popularly known as Santiago de Manila (his signature as a couturier), is the man behind Coco Banana, a famous disco inthe '70s. The singing group Hotdogs even mentioned it in their hit song"Annie Batungbakal": "Sa umaga, dispatsadora/ Sa gabi, siya'ybonggang-bongga/ Pagsapit ng dilim, nasa Coco Banana/ Annie Batungbakal, sadisco isnabera Sa disco, siya ang reyna!"
In the early '80s, he became one of the prime movers ofFashion Designers Association of the Philippines. When it held its firstinduction rites in 1981 at La Concha, Hyatt Hotel, he was sworn in as thegroup's chairman of the board.
After retiring from the world of fashion, he became afurniture maker, and his works reaped rave reviews from both the local and international press.
He also owns 83 Gallery Café, a place referred to as "Ernesto's little corner of heaven," in Pagsanjan.