Killer of UE teacher nabbedBy Erika Sauler
Philippine Daily Inquirer
“Sigaw s’ya nang sigaw, nairita ako.” (She kept on screaming, it pissed me off.)
Peejay Romero made this cold-blooded confession on Wednesday after the 29-year-old construction worker and ex-convict was arrested for killing a University of the East (UE) teacher in Sampaloc, Manila.
Romero, who police described as a member of the Genuine Ilokano gang who was earlier convicted for attempted homicide in his native Tuguegarao City, was the primary suspect in the death of Rowena Calo, 42.
The UE teacher, who was also a guidance counselor in the university (not a clerk as earlier reported), was found dead and naked Monday afternoon in the room she was renting in an apartment on Negros Street in Manila’s Sampaloc area, where Romero was also a tenant.
Romero became the subject of a manhunt when he suddenly abandoned his apartment. SPO1 Camilo Maramag and PO2 Arnel Pornillosa of the Manila Police District’s Station 4 coordinated with the Quezon City police when they received information that Romero would meet his female partner at a bus terminal in Cubao.
When Romero was arrested Wednesday morning, police said they found a Teddy Bear coin bank and two cell phones in his backpack, items which were earlier reported missing by Calo’s sister on the day the body was found.
Presented later to Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, Romero said he didn’t mean to kill Calo when they crossed paths and accidentally bumped against each other outside the apartment’s common bathroom around 7 a.m. Monday. According to him, Calo had just finished taking a bath while he had just arrived from a drinking session.
He said the woman shouted at him, prompting him to slap her in retaliation. When Calo kept berating him, he choked her with one hand then used the other to grab a rug and stuff it into her mouth.
“Hindi ko inisip na patayin sya, pero nung maisip ko na nagawa ko na, tinuluyan ko na (I didn’t mean to kill her, but when I realized what I was doing, I just finished it),’’ he said.
He then brought Calo’s body inside her room and strangled her again with a belt “to make sure’’ she’s dead, he said.
Romero denied that he raped the victim, saying she was found naked because the towel she used to cover her body coming out of the bathroom fell off during the scuffle.
He admitted taking two cell phones and the coin bank from the room, thinking he could use the money while in hiding.
Originally posted at 04:34 pm | Wednesday, March 20, 2013