DEXTER Carlos Sr., the father of the family massacred in Bulacan recently, applied for the government’s Witness Protection Program on Thursday, fearing for his own life after the gruesome murders.
Carlos, a security guard who was at work on June 27 when five members of his family were butchered in San Jose del Monte City, went to the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Manila under tight security to seek state protection a day after burying his wife and three children.
Carlos met Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd, who assured him of the government’s assistance.
“We want Mr. Dexter Carlos Sr. to know that the Department of Justice is more than willing to extend any assistance that he may need in getting justice for what was done to his family. This is in addition to the legal assistance being offered by the Public Attorney’s Office to him,” Aguirre said in a statement.
“If he feels threatened or if he fears for his safety, we will study if he can be placed under the Witness Protection Program which the DOJ administers during the duration of the trial of the case to be filed against the suspects. If qualified, we will expedite his admission into the program,” he added.
Aguirre earlier ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct an independent parallel probe of the killings.
Carlos’ appeal came as the main suspect, Carmelino Ibañes, recanted his testimony and accused the police of torture, despite evidence and eyewitness testimony linking him to the murders.
Amid questions on whether Ibañes had accomplices, two “persons of interest” in the murders were killed by unknown assailants one after the other, on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) condemned the “vigilante-type” killings of the persons of
interest on Thursday and called for a swift probe to hasten the delivery of justice to the Carlos family.
In a statement, VACC founding chairman Dante Jimenez said this was indicative of loss of faith in the justice system. He also called anew for the revival of the death penalty on heinous crimes.
“The ‘vigilante type’ killings as displayed in the killing of the two ‘persons of interest’ should alarm us. It means only one thing: people are taking the law into their own hands. Why? Because the victims or their sympathizers believe that our system of justice is no longer working. It is the victims’ perception that our justice system is so rotten, slow and corrupt that it is no longer capable of protecting them,” he said.
“We call on Congress to re-impose the death penalty. How many more massacres and heinous crimes would Congress like to happen before they are convinced to pass the death penalty law? What can be more horrible that the Bulacan massacre?” he added.
“Let us give the death penalty the chance to prove its deterrent effect especially in the light of what’s happening. Or would we wish vigilante killings to flourish instead?”
Suspect claims torture
Days after admitting to police that he killed Auring Dizon, 58; Estrella Carlos, 28 and her children Donnie, 11; Ella, 7; and Dexter Carlos Jr., 1, Ibañes is now claiming that he was forced to make the admission because police had tortured him.
Ibañes’ flip-flop came despite the physical evidence that police found at the scene of the crime – the kitchen knife that was allegedly used in the killings and the blood found on Ibañes’ hands.
A witness also testified to seeing a “bloodied” Ibañes running out of the house of the victims shortly after the massacre took place.
In Thursday’s interview that aired on “Failon Ngayon,” a news and public affairs program on dzMM, Ibañes said: “Napilitan lang po akong sabihin kasi natatakot po ako sa pulis. Tinorture ako. Binalot ng plastic sa ulo. Inanuhan ako ng martilyo sa kamay. Sumurrender ako kasi natatakot ako [I was forced to admit to the crime because I was afraid of the police. I was tortured. They wrapped my head in plastic. They hit my hand with a hammer. I surrendered because I was afraid],” Ibañes said.
When asked whether he was alone when he committed the crime, Ibañes said: “Wala po akong alam kasi lasing po ako [I don’t know anything because I was drunk].”
Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino, Central Luzon police director, denied Ibañes’ claims.
He said police expected Ibañes to flip-flop because he now had a lawyer.
“We will never do that,” Aquino said in a live radio interview when sought for his reaction.
“There are no signs of torture in any part of his body when we presented him to the media. I asked him to say what he wanted and he admitted that he raped and killed the family, why did he not mention torture?” Aquino said.
On June 28, Aquino presented Ibañes to the media in Camp Olivas, Pampanga, 33 hours after he allegedly killed the family of Dexter Carlos Sr., a security guard who found the victims as he arrived from his night shift on June 27.
Ibañes had apologized, saying he was a drug user and, at the time of the crime, had a drink with buddies and smoked shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) after.
In that press briefing, Ibañes didn’t have a lawyer.
The Carloses were buried on Wednesday, with President Rodrigo Duterte visiting the wake on Tuesday.
Before this, two “persons of interest” were killed by unknown assailants – Rosevelt Merano Sorema and Rolando Pacinos.
The police said two more remaining persons of interest — alias “Alvin” and “Thony” — are in hiding.
with LYNETTE O. LUNA AND FREDERICK SILVERIO