Taytay neighborhood association held liable in hacking of 2 sistersBy Kristine Felisse Mangunay
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—The officers of the homeowners’ association handling security at a private subdivision in Taytay, Rizal, where two sisters were hacked in February may be charged with negligence, a police official said on Saturday, after the authorities found that several avoidable lapses enabled the sole suspect to escape.
Superintendent Danilo Bacas, Taytay chief of police, said that the civil charges could be filed against officers of the Palmera II Homeowners Subdivision Inc. in connection with the attack on Mary Christine Gino, 31, and her sister Mary Catherine, 27, by the former’s male companion, Richard Belasa, on February 13.
While Mary Christine has been declared out of danger, Mary Catherine succumbed to hack wounds and died in hospital several hours after the attack.
She was buried at the Garden of Gethsemane Memorial Park in Antipolo City on February 20.
Belasa, meanwhile, has yet to be arrested.
Bacas said the police have yet to come up with a profile of Belasa and have several houses in his hometown under surveillance.
Although Aderis Dela Cruz, counsel for the Gino family, told the Inquirer over the phone that he had received information that the suspect had a pending warrant of arrest in connection with another murder case, Bacas said the police had no such information.
According to Bacas, the charges of negligence could be filed by Mary Christine or any of Mary Catherine’s grieving relatives.
“It’s their social obligation, but it’s still up to (the victims and their relatives) if they will pursue the charges, Bacas said.
Bacas’ statement was prompted by his findings that there were security lapses in the subdivision at the time of the hacking.
Based on those findings, the police official recommended that an “enhancement” of security procedures be implemented there to prevent a repeat of the gruesome incident.
Among the police official’s recommendations was a change in the shifting of security guards in the area.
“There was only one security guard” when the incident happened, Bacas said, pointing out that the number of security guards was not commensurate with the number of exit/ entrance points in the subdivision.
The lack of guards, he said, facilitated the escape of Belasa, who left the subdivision through one of the unguarded exit points.
Aside from the placement of security guards in those “strategic” points, Bacas recommended the assignment of at least two others to rove inside the subdivision.
He said the proposed increase in private security personnel was apart from the now-increased frequency with which policemen patrol what was once considered a peaceful area.
He also recommended the placement of more street lamps in the subdivision, adding that the “darkness” prevented some of the residents from seeing anything and reporting the incident any sooner.
While Dela Cruz said his clients had so far no plans of filing the civil charges, he said he had already sent a request to the association to ask its officers for clarification on the status of security during the hacking.