The suspect in the massacre of a family in Bulacan this week has been arrested and was presented to the media in Camp Olivas, Pampanga on Thursday, “33 hours” after the crime was committed, a police official said.
Carmelino Ibanez, 26, confessed to killing the mother-in-law, wife, and three children of Dexter Carlos Sr., a security guard, on Tuesday night, claiming that he was high on drugs, Chief Superintendent Aaron Aquino, Central Luzon police director, said in a live broadcast of the press conference.
In a brief statement, Ibanez, a construction worker, said in Filipino that he was a drug addict and did not know what he was doing when he stabbed Auring Dizon, 58; Estrella, 28; children Donnie, 11; Ella, 7; and Dexter Jr., 1.
Aquino also said that Ibanez raped Auring and Estrella after killing them.
Aquino said that based on investigation, Ibanez stabbed Dizon 35 times; Estrella, 45; Donnie, 15; Ella, 19; and Dexter, Jr., 5 times.
He said police were able to recover the knife that was used in the killing, lifted latent prints from the weapon and swabbed the suspect. These were brought to the national crime laboratory for tests, Aquino added.
Aquino said that Ibanez was one of six “persons of interest” that police brought in for questioning but it was the identification of Ibanez by a passer-by at the time of the crime that led to his arrest at 6 PM on Wednesday.
Aquino said Ibanez first confessed to his mother and sister who told him to tell the truth when he came face to face with them after he was brought the police station.
Asked whether there were others involved in the crime, Aquino said the suspect claimed he could not remember although he admitted that he could have acted alone.
Quoting Ibanez, Aquino said that on that fateful Tuesday night, the Negros Occidental native was drinking with friends two houses away from the Carlos home at North Ridge in Barangay Sto. Cristo, San Jose, del Monte. He said he and his friends scored “shabu” (methamphetamine hydrochloride) after. Ibanez has admitted to being a habitual drug user, said Aquino.
Ibanez said he was on his way home in the same subdivision when he suddenly felt the urge to stop at the Carlos’s house because he heard a voice.
Aquino said Ibanez went to the backdoor and found it unlocked. When Ibanez saw Auring, Aquino said he immediately got one of the kitchen knives and stabbed her.
Hearing the commotion, Estrella went down from the two-storey house and saw Ibanez raping her dead mother. When Ibanez saw Estrella, he stabbed and raped her also. He then went up to the room of the three children and stabbed them dead, as well.
Aquino said the witness saw a bloodied Ibanez leaving the house.
Sought for a reaction, Carlos said he did not know Ibanez personally but recognized him as the brother of a close friend and one of the neighbors who would get water from their pump.
He said he had warned his wife against Ibanez.
Carlos also said he did not believe that Ibanez acted alone and that he was trying to protect his other accomplices.
A day after the crime, San Jose del Monte Mayor Arturo Robles offered a P100,000 reward for information that would lead to the arrest of the perpetrators.
The Duterte administration has been pushing for the death penalty on heinous crimes.
A bill has been passed at the House of Representatives although there is difficulty getting a similar approval in the Senate.
Ibanez’s use of shabu in the commission of the crime is one the reasons behind the government’s relentless campaign against illegal drugs, which has been criticized here and abroad because it has allegedly led to a rise in extrajudicial killings.
The Bulacan massacre calls to mind a similar incident on June 1991 when Lauro Vizconde, who worked abroad, came home to bury his wife, Estrelita, and Carmela and Jennifer, after they were killed by their attackers who were also high on drugs. Carmela was also raped.
In what has been dubbed by media as “The Vizconde massacre”, the case was considered one of the most sensational in the Philippines.
Hubert Webb, son of then Senator Freddie Webb, and his co-defendants Antonio Lejano II, Hospicio Fernandez, Michael Gatchalian, Miguel Rodriguez, Peter Estrada, Joey Filart and Artemio Ventura were convicted of the crime by the Parañaque Regional Trial Court and which the Court of Appeals affirmed.
Except for Filart and Ventura who were convicted in absentia, the men were later acquitted by the Supreme Court on December 14, 2010 for failure of the prosecution to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
Vizconde died of a heart attack in February 2016.