Suspect in New Zealander’s slay yields
Just hours after his “wanted” poster was published and a P500,000 bounty was put on his head, the suspect behind the killing of a tourist from New Zealand in Makati City over the weekend surrendered to authorities early on Friday.
But John Mar Manalo, 25, denied he was the one who held up and shot dead Nicholas Peter Stacey, at past midnight on Feb. 19.Police Brig. Gen. Kirby John Kraft, director of the Southern Police District (SPD), said Manalo turned himself in at 1:11 a.m. on Friday on Hillcrest Drive in Barangay Oranbo, Pasig City.
“The suspect said he was afraid for his life. But he is denying any involvement in the crime,” Kraft said.
Manalo also has a standing warrant of arrest for another crime—“robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons”—issued by Judge Elenita Macatangay-Alviar of Branch 12 of the Regional Trial Court of Malolos City, Bulacan, on Sept. 5, 2022.
The court set the bail at P100,000 each for Manalo and his two coaccused.
Manalo is now detained at the District Special Operations Unit, SPD headquarters in Fort Bonifacio.
While behind bars, Manalo talked to reporters affirming his innocence in the killing of Stacey.
“I did not commit any crime. I did not kill anyone. I am not the person you are pointing to,” he said.
At least five witnesses have positively identified Manalo as the one who gunned down Stacey, including the victim’s Filipino partner Pamela Gaye Villanoza, based on the photo of Manalo in the police rogue’s gallery.
But Manalo said that during the time of the crime, he was asleep at their home as he had just been to Calatagan, Batangas, with witnesses corroborating his alibi.
According to Manalo, he was “shocked” to watch in the news on Thursday night that he was being hunted down for killing Stacey.
“I am innocent. I just surrendered because I want to clear my name and for my safety,” he said.
The Department of Tourism (DOT), however, said in a statement that the criminal act was not reflective of “peace-loving” Filipinos.
“This dastardly act is not reflective of the millions of peace-loving Filipinos across the country,” the DOT said.
Meanwhile, Stacey’s family and friends set up a fundraising page which raised over $20,000 to help with the cost of bringing his remains home.