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‘Husband ordered wife, child killed’

SANTA ROSA CITY, Philippines—The investigation into the brutal murder of a young mother and her one-year-old son earlier this month has taken an unexpected twist.

One of the suspects in the March 2 incident here surrendered and pointed to the victim’s husband as the brains behind the twin killings.

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Ramoncito Gallo, 25, of Sitio Tuklas, Barangay Cupang, Muntinlupa City, was brought to the local police station at 5 p.m. on Friday, a few hours after he had turned himself in to barangay chair, Celso Dioko.

Gallo, a tricycle driver, reportedly confessed to Dioko that he was one of the two men who posed as Internet repair men and bludgeoned to death Pearl Helen Sta. Ana, 29, and her son, Denzel, inside their house at Olympia Park Subdivision in Barangay Labas. Sta. Ana was reportedly raped before hammer blows ended her life.

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In an interview on Saturday, Dioko said Gallo showed up at his office around 11 a.m. accompanied by his wife and brother.

“He (Gallo) came to my office and told me he had committed a crime. When I asked him about it, he said he was one of the men responsible for the murders in Santa Rosa,” Dioko told the Inquirer.

“He said he decided to surrender because he was bothered by his conscience. He also said he feared for his life and the safety of his family,” the village head said.

Gallo had sought his help to facilitate his surrender to the police and asked for protection for his wife and their child.

According to Dioko, he immediately contacted Senior Supt. Nicolas Salvador, Muntinlupa City police chief, and Santa Rosa City Mayor Arlene Arcillas.

Gallo said he and his accomplice were hired by a man he referred to as “boss” to kill the victims, denying reports that robbery was the most probable motive for the murders. “He said they were paid P60,000 for the ‘project,’ which was split between them.”

When asked about the identity of “boss,” Gallo said it was the victim’s husband, Richard, who was earlier tagged as a “person of interest” in the crime.

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“He said the husband wanted to exact revenge because he suspected his wife of having an affair with another man.” the village chair said.

(Gallo) said they were told the victim was “having an affair,” Dioko recalled.

Gallo, who sported long hair at the time of the murders, also claimed it was Richard who provided them with the fake identification cards of a telecommunications company which they presented to Sta. Ana.  The husband, according to Gallo,  accompanied them to the victims’ house two days before the incident.”

Gallo said they were contacted through a middleman to do the hit.

Gallo’s surrender provided police a lead to the second suspect.

Supt. Reynaldo Maclang, Sta. Rosa City police chief, said they now have the name and information on the whereabouts of the second suspect.

Gallo, Maclang said, “is in the process of executing his affidavit, [assisted by] his lawyer.”

When contacted for comment, relatives of the victims said they were not that surprised by the new development.

“You want to know the truth? Actually, even during the investigation, with all the pieces of evidence being put together… we are no longer children here… yes, we’ve had our suspicions [that he was involved],” said James Bon, a brother of Pearl.

Bonded as family

“We’ve known [Richard] for quite a while. We’ve had our bonding as a family so I don’t know if I should pity him or not,” Bon said in a telephone interview.

“But we lost our sister and our nephew and for that we don’t care anymore who’s involved,” he said.

Richard had told investigators that he was in Quezon City applying for a job at the time of the murders.

After the funeral on March 10, Richard had gone home to his family in Metro Manila. He said his lawyer from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) would answer questions related to the case.

“His last text [message] to us was on Monday. He said the PAO would not allow him to communicate with us anymore,” Bon said.

On March 11, Christopher Oliveros went to the police to clear his name. Oliveros, an engineer of a telecommunication company, said his picture was stolen from his Facebook account and was used on a fake identification card that bore the name “David dela Cruz.”

The ID card was recovered from the crime scene, making “David dela Cruz,” who as it turned out was not a real person, one of the initial suspects.

“The two men (as shown on security camera footage) were carrying a bag, which looked empty at first. When they were seen again [after about an hour], the bag looked as if [it was loaded and] they were carrying something inside it,” he said.

Pearl’s mother, Helen, went to check on Pearl and found her daughter inside the bathroom. The child was found on the floor, near the bathroom.

The child died hours later in a hospital, while Pearl died on March 5.

Bon said the suspects took away a laptop computer, digital camera, an iPad, cellular phones, money and jewelry.

Maclang said investigators had ruled out robbery. “This is a crime of passion. Definitely, we are filing a case of murder,” said Maclang.

Bon said they never had any problem with Richard, who was Pearl’s boyfriend for five years before they were married three years ago. He described Richard, a former medical representative, as a responsible father.

“We don’t know what happened to them (Richard and Pearl),” Bon said.

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TAGS: Barangay Cupang, Barangay Labas, Celso Dioko, Muntinlupa City, Murder, Olympia Park Subdivision, Pearl Helen Sta. Ana, Ramoncito Gallo, Santa Rosa City Mayor Arlene Arcillas, Sitio Tuklas
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