‘Promise me you’d visit me in prison’
Minutes before he died on Tuesday night, Alberto Garan took a call from his 19-year-old daughter in Baggao, Cagayan province.
“The police are closing in,” he told her. “They are going to kill me.”
Garan, 39, had stabbed dead five people, including a 12-year-old girl, and wounded four others in the 25-story Central Park 2 Condominium in Barangay 132, Pasay City, and a responding elite police strike team was on its way to him on the 23rd floor.
Jealousy had driven him to stab his girlfriend, Emelyn Sagun, 30, to death and throw her body over the stairwell from the 16th floor.
Then he had run berserk, going on an apartment-to-apartment stabbing spree, from the 14th floor to the 22nd floor.
He had stopped in a room on the 23rd floor and texted his daughter: “I have killed Emelyn.”
His daughter had called back and he had told her the police were on their way to him.
His wife, Thelma, who was listening in on the call through the phone’s loudspeaker, had asked him why he killed Sagun.
He had told his wife that he was jealous because he had caught Sagun talking to another man on her phone.
His daughter had asked him to surrender so they could start a new life in Baggao.
She also had told her father that she was looking forward to having him around on her graduation from college next June.
“Promise me you’d visit me in prison then,” Garan had told his daughter.
Gunfire cut the call, Thelma told the Inquirer on Wednesday.
Supt. Deanry Francisco, assistant police chief of Pasay City, said Garan resisted arrest and tried to stab one of the responding policemen.
“We wanted him to surrender, but he did not want to be caught alive,” Francisco said, adding there were reports that Garan had been using “shabu” (crystal meth).
Director Oscar Albayalde, chief of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO), said Garan and Sagun had an argument in their apartment on the building’s 14th floor around 6 p.m. on Tuesday.
He said Garan got hold of a 35-centimeter kitchen knife and plunged it into Sagun then threw her body over the stairwell.
Then he went from apartment to apartment stabbing people.
On the 16th floor, he encountered former journalist Joel Palacios, who was returning from jogging, and stabbed him.
Palacios, 70, had worked for major Manila newspapers, including the Inquirer, and for the British news agency Reuters.
He also served as spokesperson and vice president for media affairs of the Social Security System until his retirement in 2012.
Palacios also served as a professor at Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila and associate dean of the College of Mass Communication of Universidad de Manila.
Garan also stabbed dead Grade 6 student Daisery Castillo, 12, on the 17th floor; Ligaya Dimapilis, 36, and Leticia Ecsiagan, between 50 and 60 years old, both on the 20th floor.
Wounded and taken to Pasay City General Hospital were Belcris Elorde, 24, live-in partner of Palacios; April Joy Sagarino, 20; Arlyn Dian-Cordero, 23, and Margie Morales, 26.
Senior Supt. Dionisio Bartolome, Pasay police chief, said both Garan and Sagun were married but left Baggao to elope on Aug. 24.
Sagun was married to Garan’s wife’s brother, Joel Talosig, Bartolome said.
Bartolome said Garan and Sagun arrived in Pasay on Aug. 25 and stayed with Sagun’s sister in Central Park Condominium.
Bartolome said Garan once caught Sagun holding hands with another man, which could have been the cause of the argument between them on Tuesday night.
He said Garan first tried to shoot Sagun with a .38 caliber revolver, which jammed.
Garan hit Sagun with the gun on the head then grabbed a kitchen knife and went after her when she ran out of the apartment.
He caught up with her on the 16th floor and stabbed her. Then he threw her body over the stairwell. The body landed on the 13th floor.
Crime of passion
Bartolome confirmed that Garan called his family in Baggao.
He said Garan had told his wife: “I gave up my family and my life. My life is now a mess just because of another woman.”
“This is a crime of passion. Maybe he could not accept what had happened and went into a blind rage against women. As you can see, except for Palacios, all his victims were women,” Francisco said.
He said the case was considered closed, as seven witnesses had confirmed that Garan was the knife-wielder.
The Pasay City police chief relieved Senior Insp. Edgar Dimaunahan, commander of Police Precinct 5 in Central Park after complaints were received that it took nearly five hours before police responded to the call for help from the building, which was only 70 meters away.
Dionisio said Dimaunahan would be replaced by Chief Insp. Allan Rainier Cabral.
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