No way, cops say of massacre suspect’s torture claim
CAMP GEN. ALEJO SANTOS, BULACAN—The principal suspect in the June 27 massacre of a family in the city of San Jose del Monte has not retracted his extrajudicial confession, despite television interviews saying he was tortured into admitting the killings, police said on Thursday.
Construction worker Carmelino Ibañez, 26, claimed he was tortured by the police, forcing him to admit responsibility for the attack.
In a television report, he said in Filipino: “The reason I admitted to the killings was because I was scared of policemen who tortured me at the back of the police station… They wrapped my head with plastic and threatened to break my hand with a hammer.”
But Supt. Fitz Macariola, San Jose del Monte police chief, denied Ibañez’s allegation.
“We would not do that. We also did not coerce him. He confessed,” he said.
The confession was one of the bases for charging Ibañez with multiple counts of murder and rape for killing and raping Estrella Carlos, 35, and her mother, Auring Diaz, 58, and stabbing and killing Estrella’s three children. The complaints were filed at the office of the Bulacan prosecutor on June 29.
Ibañez, who has been detained at the San Jose del Monte jail, remains the prime suspect, according to Senior Supt. Romeo Caramat, Bulacan police director.
On Thursday, the police offered to protect “persons of interest” they questioned, following the killing this week of two men linked to the murders.
Rosevelt Sorema was killed by gunmen who broke into his house on Wednesday, as bank security guard Dexter Carlos Sr., buried his wife, three children and mother-in-law who were murdered in their home last week. Rolando Pacinos was found dead on Tuesday morning, hours before President Duterte attended the Carlos family wake.
Pacino’s body was strapped with a cardboard sign that described him as a “murderer and rapist.”
Ibañez claimed that a man named “Tony” and Pacinos, also known as “Inggo,” were his accomplices. The police, however, did not detain the two men, pending the release of forensic tests from the police crime laboratory.
“The police are now coordinating with the families of the other persons of interest to remove speculation that the police are out to kill them,” Caramat said.
“Tony” and another person of interest, identified as Alvin Mabesa, could not be located, he said.
Macariola said they had assured the family of Mabesa that they would protect him.
Ibañez and four persons of interest were held for questioning on the massacre after police found that they had access to the Carlos house at North Ridge Royale Subdivision in Barangay Sto. Cristo in San Jose del Monte.
Carlos met with Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II in Manila on Thursday.
Justice Undersecretary Erickson Balmes, spokesperson, for the Department of Justice (DOJ), said Carlos was provided with “shelter and other benefits” pending the approval of his application to the government’s witness protection program.
“Losing one’s family to criminals is a very hard experience for anyone. We should help him get the justice he deserves,” Aguirre said in a statement.
“The [DOJ] is more than willing to extend any assistance that he may need in getting justice for what was done to his family,” he added.
The Public Attorney’s Office, an attached agency of the DOJ, is providing legal assistance to Carlos. —CARMELA REYES-ESTROPE WITH A REPORT FROM MARLON RAMOS IN MANILA
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