‘Pilar says she was attacked by the devil’
MANILA, Philippines—“I was attacked by the devil.”
That was how Pilar Pilapil, an actress and former beauty queen, described to a friend Thursday night’s assault on her and her female companion by two suspected car thieves while they were looking for a place to park their car in Marikina City.
And she said she survived because God was by her side.
“She was very grateful to the Lord for protecting her,” Pilapil’s best friend Rosary Benitez told the Inquirer Sunday.
“Pilar said, ‘I was really attacked by the devil.’ She said that was the devil, that the devious attack was really terrible, and that she would not wish it on anyone. She said the Lord was guarding her,” Benitez said.
Pilapil, a born-again Christian since 1995 and a 1967 Miss Philippines, suffered several stab wounds and bruises during the attack. Her companion, Rosalie Jakosalem Peñas, remains missing.
The attackers are still at large.
Could have been fatal
Benitez, a friend of Pilapil’s for more than 30 years, as well as Pilapil’s younger brother Leo and attending physician Dr. Raymundo Resurreccion spoke to reporters at The Medical City in Pasig City.
Resurreccion said Pilapil sustained wounds that could have been fatal and was in “severe respiratory distress” when brought to the hospital shortly after midnight.
“She had multiple stab wounds in the chest, both flanks, (an) incised wound to the left side of the neck, multiple contusions of the face, both arms and the right thigh. She also had stab wounds at the right thigh,” the doctor said.
“These injuries would have been fatal if she had not been given immediate medical attention,” Resurreccion said.
He said that from a medical standpoint, “one more week from today, she will be ready for discharge.” Doctors Sunday described her condition as stable.
Benitez said she was expecting to see “a near corpse” on Friday when she first came to visit.
No anger in her
“I really think the Lord was protecting her. She (was) bruised, beaten to a pulp. But the goodness from inside is showing. She is grateful that (the attackers) did not destroy her face,” Benitez said.
She said Pilapil was also grateful to the people of Antipolo City, who first took her to the hospital and “helped her without question,” and to the hospital staff.
Leo said there was no anger in her sister when she talked about what happened.
“She did not fight them off. She was just begging for them to spare her,” he said.
Unlocked car doors
Leo said Pilapil and her companion were looking for a parking space inside the Marikina Riverbanks Center when two men suddenly opened the unlocked doors of their Kia vehicle.
Leo said Pilapil was stabbed several times, dragged out of the vehicle, and left for dead in Antipolo City.
Benitez said Pilapil “is worried about Roselle. She wants us to keep praying.”
Leo said Peñas “is a distant relative, I think she works for Unilever in Australia.” He also said that “she’s related to” Pilapil’s second husband, Bernie Peñas, a Christian pastor.
“Of course, we’re worried about what’s happening to her right now. We don’t know anything about what happened to her … You have to ask those questions to the (police),” Leo said.
Pilapil’s friends and family are almost certain that what occurred on Thursday night was a random crime.
“She could (have been) just at the wrong place at the wrong time. She does not have enemies,” Leo said.
“It’s really a random thing,” Benitez said. “Always lock (the car) doors … But they were driving very slowly, probably going from one parking space to another. And doors only lock when you reach a certain speed. And when they reached a certain intersection, the two guys entered the car.”
Pilapil’s family and friends are thankful that she does not need life support despite her injuries, Benitez said. “Just dextrose and she puts on her oxygen mask when she feels like. She looks stable,” she said.
Despite her trauma, Pilapil “has not specifically requested” for any form of counseling, the doctor said.
Leo said: “I think she’s a very strong woman, very spiritual. She’s talking freely (and engages in) normal conversations. And if you know Pilar, she’s very hyper when she talks.”
Unlike the feisty characters she usually portrays on television and in films, she is “upbeat, strong-willed. That’s because she’s always mentioning about the Lord, that the Lord really saved her,” the brother said.
He said one thing that had made Pilapil happy so far was the visit on Saturday of friend Jean Saburit, a sexy star from the 1970s.
Recalling old times
“They go way back then … It was bedlam inside the room, as usual,” Leo said.
Benitez said Saburit’s arrival got everyone talking and laughing. “Pilar was eating a lot of food. They talked about the old days, how long they have been friends. They knew a lot of common friends.”
Leo, a barangay councilor, was in Liloan, Cebu, attending a session on Friday when a call came on his cellular phone.
“Someone called that something happened to Pilar. It was very vague … And then a niece called me from Ormoc City, she said it was on the news so I had to leave right away,” he said.
“There were calls from our sisters and brothers in the States. We are ten siblings. Six girls in a row with Pilar as the youngest and then four boys,” Leo said.
Pilapil’s daughter, former and model Pia, stays with her mother in the hospital.
Leo said Sunday’s press conference was called partly to set things right about the identity of Peñas, who had been reported to be either his brother-in-law’s niece or sister-in-law.
Senior Supt. Joel Coronel said on Saturday that Pilapil was able to describe her attackers and that their sketches would be distributed to police units and other law enforcement agencies.
The vehicle that Pilapil and Peñas were using—reportedly a Kia wagon—is also missing. Coronel said police in Metro Manila and nearby provinces had been alerted about the vehicle.
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