Bulacan massacre suspect tests negative for drugs
The man who confessed to the massacre of a family in San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan last Tuesday tested negative for drug use, dousing lawmen’s hopes of turning him into a poster boy for capital punishment.
Construction worker Carmelino Ibañez, 26, earlier claimed he was on drugs when he killed Estrella Carlos, her mother Aurora Dizon and Carlos’ three children Donnie, 11; Ella, 7; and 1-year-old Dexter Jr. before dawn of June 27.
Carlos, 28, and her 58-year-old mother appeared to have been raped.
“I regret what I did. I was hooked on drugs,” Ibañez said in Filipino when he was presented to media on Thursday.
Argument for death penalty
Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) director general Isidro Lapeña had said the Carlos family killing was the best argument for the restoration of the death penalty for drug cases.
But City of San Jose del Monte police chief Supt. Fitz Macariola said the drug test conducted on Ibañez after his arrest turned out negative.
Macariola said the drug test result does not affect the five charges of murder and two counts of rape that were filed against Ibañez at the San Jose del Monte prosecutor’s office.
Police are studying the possible involvement of two other men, identified only as “Inggo” and “Tony,” whom Ibañez claimed were with him when he attacked the family.
None of the three men were on the SJDM police’s drug watch list but Macariola said Ibañez’ confession and forensic evidence were strong enough to get a conviction for murder and rape.
But it’s another matter in the case presented by PDEA chief Lapeña who said the death penalty will be a “strong deterrent against offenders of heinous crimes correlated to illegal drugs.”
“The suspect admitted that he was high on drugs upon (the) commission of the crime. Only (a) drug-crazed person can stab savagely his victims, including a helpless 1-year-old child, multiple times and rape them after,” Lapeña said.
Lapeña pointed out that Ibañez confessed that he carried out the attack after a night spent drinking and using methamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu.”
“He (Ibañez) heard voices prodding him to break into the house, an obvious sign of drug-induced hallucinations,” the PDEA chief noted.
“Harsher penalties must be dealt with people like Ibañez, manufacturers, smugglers, pushers and all the more coddlers and protectors of illegal drugs in the country, both foreign and domestic, who were proven guilty in court. They deserve nothing more than capital punishment,” Lapeña said.
According to Lapeña, a Social Weather Station survey conducted March 25 to 28 found that six of 10 Filipinos are in favor of reinstating the death penalty.
“This goes to show that despite strong opposition from various sectors, including religious groups, a great majority of our countrymen support the move. I agree that drug use is a health issue but we should treat it is as a criminal issue altogether,” he said./rga