Manila police filed two counts of murder and car-theft charges against the killer of the wife and maid of an official of the Department of Education (DepEd) who were found dead in an apartment in Santa Ana, Manila, last Thursday.
John Adrian Edquiling, 37, an aircraft pilot and businessman, of 209 B Molave Avenue, Molave Park, Merville, Parañaque City (Metro Manila) denied killing Lucita Menguito, 53, and Jennifer Magtulos, 18, househelp, and native of Iloilo City.
The accused is married to Maria Teresa, a daughter of the Menguito couple.
Lucita is the wife of Ponciano Menguito, 63, assistant regional director of DepEd’s Manila Division.
A witness, Herminigilda Barsana, 44, neighbor of the victims, said she saw the suspect knock at the gate of Apartment 2217 Pasig Line Street, Barangay 791, Zone 86, Santa Ana.
Edquiling entered the apartment and after more or less two hours, Barsana said she saw the gate of the apartment open and from it emerged a white Honda Jazz (BLX 08) registered in the name of Cherry Blessy Menguito, daughter of the victim.
The witness said she did not see Edquiling inside the car because of the vehicle’s thick tinted glass.
Police, however, obtained a footage from a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera showing Edquiling parking the vehicle on a side street near the apartment.
He disembarked from the car while carrying a child and a club that he supposedly used to hit the victims.
Edquiling walked for a few meters and threw the bloodied club at a side street not far from the crime scene.
Police saw spots of blood at the doorstep of the apartment.
Magtulos was found in the comfort room lying flat on her back, face covered with white T-shirt, clad in violet T-shirt and blue-green short pants, and barefooted. She had multiple lacerated open wounds on her face and head.
Menguito was found at the living room of Apartment 2219, which is connected through a back pathway to Apartment 2217. Her face was covered with dark blue towel, wearing
yellow T-shirt with floral design, yellow short pants and also barefooted.
She had lacerated wounds at the forehead and top of her head.
Police said the suspect was traced and arrested in Parañaque City, also on Thursday afternoon.
OnThursday, police found the abandoned car parked along Pedro Gil Avenue and Peñafrancia Street, Malate, in Manila.
Edquiling on Thursday accompanied investigators to where the white Honda Jazz was parked and abandoned.
He denied killing Menguito but admitted hitting Magtulos with the club, claiming self-defense.
“When I entered the apartment, the maid was attempting to hit me. We struggled and I was able to grab the hard object from her and hit her. She fell down. I went to the other door and saw my mother-in-law already dead. Then, for fear, I left the house using the Jazz car,” Edquiling said.
He added that he drove away from the apartment but decided to abandon the car and proceeded to his own car that he allegedly parked near the apartment.
“I cannot kill my mother-in-law. She is very kind to me and treated me like her true son because her two children are both female,” Edquiling said.
According to him, he went to the apartment to take a picture of an oven he wanted to sell online.
He denied that he had a misunderstanding with his in-laws.
Meanwhile, police said they consider the case closed, saying the pieces of evidence, particularly the CCTV footage, are enough to pin down Edquiling, who will undergo a drug test, according to investigator and Senior Police Officer 2 Amelito Lopez.
Lopez said it was a simple “misunderstanding” between the mother-in-law and the son-in-law that triggered the murders.
Sources said the Menguito couple helped Edquiling in his schooling, gave him a house and a big sum to start a business.
Edquiling’s father-in-law and his wife avoided the media.
Their relatives said the DepEd official and members of the family do not like media interviews.
Also on Thursday, the widower went to Manila Police District headquarters and had a meeting with investigators.