Two versions emerged of how Nestor Delizalde Jr. died. But one thing was constant: The massacre suspect took a bullet in the forehead while in the custody of the Manila police.
Midday radio reports quoted the Manila Police District (MPD) as saying that Delizalde—who had admitted slitting the throats of three women in a predawn robbery early this week—was shot by one of his escorts after he tried to grab another officer’s firearm in a police car on their way to the City Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday.
But the story changed later in the day. In an interview with the Inquirer, MPD homicide section head Chief Inspector Joey de Ocampo said that in the tight scuffle inside the car, Delizalde somehow ended up shooting himself.
De Ocampo also said the convoy holding Delizalde was on its way back to headquarters and was passing through Juan Luna and Muelle streets when the handcuffed suspect went after the pistol of Police Officer 3 Michael Pastor, who was seated beside him in the patrol car.
“While they scuffled, the policeman was able to parry the gun (sic) and when it fired it hit Delizalde in the forehead; he shot himself,” De Ocampo said.
Told that this account might again raise eyebrows considering that Delizalde was not the first “gun-grabbing” crime suspect who ended up dead in MPD’s custody, De Ocampo said: “Criminals here in Manila are more daring and defiant.”
“The incident may sound incredible to police critics, but that’s what happened,” he stressed.
Delizalde, a barangay (village) watchman, was accused of killing bank executive Evelyn Tan, 40; her mother, Teresa, 60; and housemaid Cristina Partolay, 22, in a robbery of the Tan residence on Yakal Street, Sta. Cruz, Manila, before dawn on November 12.
The three women were found with their throats slit.
A female witness earlier recalled hearing screams from the Tan residence around 3 a.m. that day and later spotting Delizalde coming down from a tree behind the house. When asked what he was doing there, the suspect told the witness to just keep quiet and even gave her crisp P100 bills from a wad of cash he took out from a bag.
Delizalde was arrested on Tuesday and admitted the crime during interrogation.
According to De Ocampo on Thursday, an MPD team was given orders to bring the suspect out of his cell for him to show where he hid the other valuables he stole.
Delizalde was also supposed to identify another village watchman of Barangay 225, Zone 21, who allegedly took a share of the loot, the homicide chief said.
“During the investigation when he was asked about his loot, the suspect said he left it with his colleagues in the barangay,” De Ocampo said. “We believed him because the recovered materials did not match the list of items that were supposedly taken by Delizalde from the victims,” the police official said.
He said the list included three cell phones, a digital camera and cash amounting to P22,000.
But De Ocampo said the MPD team holding Delizalde failed to locate the other watchman because the village chairman, Arthur Arce, was not around to assist them when they arrived at the barangay hall.
It was on their way back to the headquarters that Delizalde, in De Ocampo’s words, became “daring and defiant.”