Slay suspect fears for life, sees boy’s ‘ghost’ in jail cell

/ 08:05 AM October 06, 2011

The man accused of murdering  7-year-old Gabriel Morales, son of his live-in partner, is afraid of being sent to the Mandaue City jail.

That’s where  the boy’s father is detained on drug charges.


Mario Abecia, a company driver, said he fears he’ll get killed there. He asked the police to put him in a  safer jail.

The slain boy was laid to rest yesterday in the Mandaue cemetery, a day after his body was found wrapped in a blanket and hidden under a pile of dirt and rubble beside a toilet in Abecia’s house along the Subangdaku Creek.


In an interview, Abecia said he received death threats after being detained at the Opao police precinct last Monday.

The former disk jockey who works as a company driver in a shipping firm said he  “saw” Gabriel’s ghost after he woke up in his  cell in the Subangdaku precinct.

“I told him I’m sorry that he had to die because of my anger at his mother. I told him I hope he forgives me,” Abecia said in Cebuano.

The child was laid to rest in St. Joseph Cemetery following a 3 p.m. Mass in St. Joseph Church yesterday.

The Mandaue City  jail is where  the boy’s father  Emmanuel Punzalan has been  detained on drug charges since Sept. 29, 2009.

The victim’s 29-year-old mother Christine Morales said Emmanuel knew what happened to his son through her cousin, Stanley Rondina.

She said Rondina visited Punzalan in the city jail a few hours after Gabriel’s body was found on Tuesday.


Gabriel’s remains were wrapped in a blanket and a white plastic sheet.

His mouth and both hands and feet were bound with packing tape.  A police autopsy said he died of suffocation.

Punzalan said the last time he saw his youngest son was last year during a jail visit of the boy and his mother.

The inmate said he partly blamed himself for what happened because if he wasn’t in jail, his family would still be intact.

Chief Insp. Jessie Calumpang, Mandaue City jail warden, said Abecia will be safe inside the  facility since he will stay in the annex building while Punzalan is detained in another building.

Insp. Ramil Morpos, deputy chief of Investigation and Detection Management Branch (IDMB) of the Mandaue City police, said they had recorded phone and text messages of  Abecia  and other evidence to build their case against him.

Yesterday afternoon, Abecia signed an  extra-judicial confession owning up to the child’s death.

Morpos said Abecia’s admission made at the Public Attorney’s Office may reduce his sentence upon conviction.

Charges of kidnapping and murder will be filed against Abecia and a 34-year-old neighbor, Arsenio Ursal, whom police said was ware the child was being kept inside the house.

Abecia kidnapped the boy last Saturday in a bid to force the child’s mother to reconcile with him after the couple split up a month ago.

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TAGS: Crime, Justice, Murder, Prison, punishment
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