Behind scared cop, a father’s assurance
Policeman tagged in wife’s slay wanted to be chaplain, says paBy Jeannette I. Andrade
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Tuguegarao City policeman accused of shooting his wife dead in a jealous rage in Sampaloc, Manila, had studied in a seminary and wanted to be a police chaplain, according to his father who convinced him to surrender.
After 12 hours on the road from Tuguegarao, PO1 Nathan Legasi, 30, was brought back by a team from the Manila Police District homicide section on Friday to be charged before the city prosecutor’s office.
Legasi first surrendered to his superiors at the 1st Manuever Company of the Police Regional Office II–2nd Regional Public Safety Battalion (RPSB), after his company leader Senior Insp. Richard Gatan ordered him to report to work following news that he killed his wife Krizzia, a 26-year-old nurse.
The policeman surfaced after his 58-year-old father, Rev. Velasco Legasi, convinced him that no harm would come to him. The suspect traveled to Manila accompanied by his old man, whose presence added to his son’s sense of security.
In an interview with the Inquirer at the MPD headquarters, the older Legasi, a pastor at a local Baptist church, said his son had been wanting to give himself up but did not know how.
“He was very willing to surrender but he was concerned about his security. His superiors called me up and asked me to go with my son so he would feel secure,” Velasco said.
The MPD earlier said Legasi secretly followed his wife in Manila and shot her in the face with a .45-cal. pistol when he caught up with her in an apartment in Sampaloc on June 6. Investigators also gathered from her family that she was a battered wife who was trying to end a relationship with an abusive, jealous spouse.
Velasco said he was shocked when he first heard of the news of his son’s involvement in Krizzia’s killing. “My wife was (also) shocked. We could not believe he was capable of doing something like that.”
Velasco said Legasi had lived with them for 24 years in Kalinga province before spending the last six years with Krizzia and her family in Tuguegarao. Legasi joined the police force in July 2009.
He described Legasi, the eldest in a brood of three, as an obedient son who would even preach the Gospel in his spare time.
The young police officer previously studied at a seminary in Angeles City. “He took up legal management so he could study law and eventually become a chaplain. That was supposed to be his plan when he joined the police,” the older Legasi said.
After his son moved to Tuguegarao, Velasco only saw him whenever he brought his family to Kalinga for a visit. He said he did not sense anything wrong between the couple, who by then were raising two sons.
“If I had sensed there was something wrong, I would have offered counseling,” he said.
“This is difficult, so difficult,” the pastor said as he watched his son lying asleep inside his cell. “But I know God has a plan.”
“I don’t know what happened in the six years that he spent away from our house. It seems that he forgot the values we instilled in him for the first 24 years of his life,” he said. “My family always celebrated Father’s Day together. It is usually a very happy time for us.”
He noted that based on his son’s statement, Krizzia’s death was an accident. “They had a struggle and (his) gun accidentally went off. If he had intentionally wanted to kill her, why was there only one bullet? Why did he have bite marks on his wrist?”
“Nobody wanted it to happen,” he stressed.
Krizzia’s mother, however, painted a darker image of Legasi. In a sworn statement, Rosemarie Bunagan recalled that on the morning of June 6, hours before the shooting, her frightened daughter called up to tell her that Legasi had threatened her.
She said Legasi had warned Krizzia: “Pag hindi ka uuwi ngayon. Patay na kung patay. (If you’re not coming home today, you’re dead.)”
Bunagan also cited an incident in April 2010 when some of Krizzia’s classmates and an official of Wesley College in Tuguegarao arrived at the house for a visit at a time when Krizzia was not around. She said Legasi inexplicably drew his gun in front of them, just when they were having a meal, after he heard the college official ask where Krizzia was.
“Why are you asking where Krizzia is?” Legasi asked the visitor, leaving the latter speechless and shaking in fear, Bunagan said.