MANILA, Philippines—Jaymar Waradji said he agreed to help Fernando Quiambao Jr. abduct model Julie Ann Rodelas to teach her a lesson—not for money, but out of a sense of gratitude.
But he said he could not stomach the thought of murdering the part-time 20-year-old model whom they held captive for a few hours at their safehouse in Barangay (village) Culiat, Quezon City, in the wee hours of November 6.
“’Di ko po kaya yun ser. Di yun kaya ng konsiyensya ko,” Waradji, 22, told policemen, saying he only participated in the abduction but no longer joined in killing the victim, nicknamed Jaja.
He, along with model Althea Altamirano and Quiambao, underwent inquest proceedings for murder but Waradji ended up being a witness against the couple.
Assistant city prosecutor Alessandro Jurado recommended murder charges against the couple with no bail for the capital offense.
As early as Sunday morning after Waradji’s arrest, the Quezon City Police District’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit convinced him to come clean and tell all about Rodelas’ murder a week ago.
The pretty model was shot five times and pushed out of a black Mitsubishi Montero on 18th Avenue in Murphy, Cubao.
The crime was eventually traced to Quiambao and Altamirano, who said the victim was spreading rumors about her among their colleagues.
According to Waradji, he agreed to help out of “utang na loob” (sense of gratitude) to Quiambao, who often treated them to drinks and fine dining.
“We Muslims have a sense of gratitude. Show us kindness and we will repay you with our life,” he said after the inquest proceedings.
Rodelas’ mother, Luz, forgave him during the inquest proceedings.
“He wasn’t with the suspects during the murder. And it was he who helped pin down the suspects,” she said.
In his sworn statement to the case investigator, Police Officer 2 Jogene Hernandez, on Sunday afternoon, Waradji said the initial plan was “lulumpuhin lang (just cripple her)” but not to kill Rodelas
But shortly before the murder, his cohorts told him of the change in plan—that it had become “shoot to kill.”
The conspiracy was hatched in the afternoon of November 5 when Quiambao went to the Salaam Muslim compound in Culiat and told him and a certain Efren of Altamirano’s problems with Rodelas.
Quiambao, whom his friends called “JR,” asked him and Efren to help in snatching Rodelas.
“Dahil may utang na loob po ako sa kaniya dahil mabait naman siya sa akin, sumama po ako at si Efren (Since I owed him and because he’s good to me, I went along with him and Efren),” he said in his sworn statement.
The three then went to the SM Mall of Asia aboard the black Montero with license plate TWO 505 to park the vehicle, after which they went to eat at a restaurant nearby.
After eating, they went back to the vehicle and drove off, with Quiambao at the wheel.
Waradji recalled Quiambao saying that he received a text message from Altamirano that the movie she was watching with Rodelas was over and another one saying that she and the victim were waiting by the roadside.
Waradji added that as far as he knew, Altamirano convinced Rodelas to come with her and meet a talent manager that night.
While driving at around 12:30 a.m., they passed by the two girls—Altamirano and Rodelas. Efren got out and dragged Rodelas into the Montero, which sped away.
The three then went to their hideout on Lanao Street in the Salaam compound on Waradji’s suggestion.
During the whole ride, Rodelas was blindfolded to prevent her from recognizing Quiambao. The victim was quiet throughout the trip.
But his cover was blown when Waradji said, “JR, doon tayo sa baluarte namin (JR, let’s go to our camp)” referring to their hideout.
“Dito po nag-react ang babae na kalaunan ay nalaman ko ang pangalan ay Julie Ann at nagsalita bigla ng ‘JR! Jay, sorry, sorry, sorry’ hanggang sa nagalit pa sa akin si JR dahil bakit daw ako nagbanggit ng pangalan. Dapat daw kasi brod lang ang tawagan (At this point, the woman, whom I later learned was named Julie Ann, reacted and said ‘JR, Jay, sorry, sorry, sorry’ and JR got mad at me for saying his name. He said we should just call each other brod),” his statement read.
At the safehouse, the victim was led to a room where Efren told him, “Labas muna kayo, alam nyo na (Stay out for now, you know what happens next).” Minutes later, Waradji heard wailing and shouts of “’Wag, ’wag po” from the room.
Later, Altamirano called up Quiambao and told her boyfriend that she was at the Pasay City police station, prompting Quiambao to leave the safehouse for a while.
Left behind were the victim, Waradji, Efren, a certain “Aldos” and two men who served as lookouts.
Aldos was a newbie in the community known as a gun-for-hire, which shocked Waradji.
After taking a nap, Waradji entered the room where Rodelas was with Aldos; Efren served as lookout.
Aldos was holding a .45-cal. pistol while talking to the victim.
As he was pissed off at Aldos, Waradji told the other man, “Binilin ’yan sa amin ni JR (JR bought that for us)” to which Aldos shot back: “Ano ba problema mo? Ito lang, ayaw mo ’ko pagbigyan (What’s your problem? You don’t want to give her to me)?”
Waradji tried to assert his authority over Aldos, who retorted: “Yun lang? Ako bahala doon. Itatapon nyo rin lang naman, pakikinabangan ko muna (That’s all? I can take care of things. You’ll dump her anyway, I’ll use her first).”
Later in the morning, Quiambao returned with a McDonald’s plastic bag with a cheeseburger meal inside. He gave this to Waradji to eat.
But Waradji, to check on the victim, knocked on the door and told Aldos that he was giving the burger to Rodelas.
He also told Aldos that Quiambao had returned, and Aldos replied: “Okay na, tapos na naman ako (It’s okay, I’m done).”
But the McDonald’s plastic bag—which had a telltale receipt unknown to the suspects— was passed to Rodelas.
Aldos told the victim to eat up after which she would be brought home.
But Rodelas replied: “’Wag na, doon na lang sa bahay. Dadalhin ko na lang ito (I’ll just eat at home. I’ll bring this with me).”
Waradji said he no longer joined Efren, Aldos and Quiambao and Jaja in their last trip. Only the men returned to the safehouse after 5 a.m. and Rodelas was no longer with them.
Efren told him that Jaja was shot dead five times in the head, which jarred Waradji. “Grabe naman. Sobra naman (That’s terrible. That’s too much).”
On the concrete pavement of 18th Avenue in Cubao, Quezon City, the pretty Jaja Rodelas lay dead but clutching the McDonalds plastic bag in her left hand, the receipt falling into the hands of police just hours later.