Ramona Bautista’s Turkish husband: No one can touch us
“No one can touch us.”
This was the declaration of Engin Tuna Bulbuloglu, the Turkish husband of Ma. Ramona “Mara” Bautista, who fled to Turkey after she was implicated in the murder of her brother Ramgen.
“Nothing will come out of this incident. Everything is merely made up of allegations,” Bulbuloglu told Turkish daily, Vatan. An English translation was carried on the Hurriyet Daily News website on Tuesday.
On Nov. 7, a source privy to the family’s affairs told the Inquirer that Bulbuloglu had ordered Mara to fly to Istanbul a day after the killing of her brother at the BF Homes subdivision in Parañaque City.
Mara married Bulbuloglu three years ago, causing her father great distress, according to the source, who also said that Mara had been in Manila for three months before the murder.
Bulbuloglu’s statement was broadcast by Manila’s networks on Thursday as Dennis Manzanal, counsel for Mara and her brother Ramon Joseph “RJ,” requested the Parañaque City prosecutor conducting a preliminary investigation of Ramgen’s murder for a 10-day extension for the submission of counteraffidavits.
Mara and RJ are principal suspects in the Oct. 28 killing of their elder brother—known as Ram Revilla in his movies—in his home in Parañaque and the wounding of his girlfriend Janelle Manahan. The three are among the children of former movie action star and ex-senator Ramon Revilla Sr.
The 22-year-old Mara flew to Hong Kong on Nov. 4 and took a connecting flight to Turkey, apparently evading investigation by police and prosecutors. She wrote Istanbul as her final destination in her departure card and indicated she was a resident of Turkey.
The day before she departed, Ramona told ANC News that she left Ramgen and his girlfriend after the attack for fear that the assailants would go after her.
At least one witness and two suspects pointed to Mara and her 18-year-old brother RJ as the masterminds of the killing allegedly because of a financial dispute among the siblings, police have said.
RJ was arrested on Oct. 31. Charges of murder and frustrated murder were brought against him on Tuesday in Regional Trial Court Branch 274 under Judge Fortunito Madrona. He has waived his right to a preliminary investigation and is currently detained at the Parañaque City Jail.
Two other suspects—Michael Jay Nartea and Roy Francis Tolisora—have been arrested, while Glaiza Vista, Norwin Dela Cruz and a man named Bryan remain suspects-at-large, along with Mara.
In Thursday’s preliminary investigation at the Parañaque Prosecutor’s Office, Assistant City Prosecutor Leah Roma explained that Manzanal had asked for the extension because the Bautista camp had not yet received the subpoena sent via registered mail.
Roma said Manzanal was given until Nov. 18 to file Mara’s counteraffidavit, regardless of where she is.
“The notice to the lawyer is notice to the client. That’s their chance to present their side. If they fail to submit their counteraffidavit, we will proceed with the resolution based on the available evidence and testimonies,” she said.
Roma said Mara’s physical presence was required to take her oath and give her sworn statement.
When asked if a sworn statement by Mara from the consulate of the Philippines was admissible, Roma said she would have to study this because of the “unconventional circumstances” surrounding the case.
“Who knows? She might come back,” she said.
Two witnesses, Ruel Puzon, alias “Katcho,” and Loyd Comeda, alias “Lim,” have implicated Mara in the planning of the murder. Police said Puzon was part of the group that planned the murder.
Puzon’s statement led to the arrest of Tolisora and Nartea, described as gunmen contracted for P200,000 to kill Ramgen. The two admitted they were among the plotters but that they backed out at the last minute. They said Mara had an “active participation” in the slaying.
Police are also looking for the three other suspects, Bryan, Dela Cruz and his girlfriend Vista, described as the “missing link” between RJ and Mara and the “masked killer” of Ramgen. Dela Cruz and Vista were said to be “facilitators.”
In an earlier interview, Chief Insp. Enrique Sy, head of Task Force Ramgen, said the police had yet to establish the identity of the masked killer.
Police also have three other witnesses—two security guards and Ronald Angcajas, a movie production assistant and close confidante of Ramgen—who reportedly saw Mara and RJ leave the subdivision separately on the night of the murder.
Mara initially issued a statement to the Las Piñas City police that she was abducted by two men after her brother was shot and stabbed to death.
She retracted her statement through a recorded video message aired on ANC and said that she ran away from the scene of the crime because “she was confused” and was “not in the proper state of mind that night.”
The Las Piñas police investigation unit is set to press perjury charges against Mara for retracting her original statement that she was abducted.
“Flight is an indicator of guilt. We’re studying our options on what cases to file against her in this sudden turnaround of statements,” Las Piñas police chief Senior Supt. Romulo Sapitula said.
Chief Insp. Jandale Sulit said Mara was first seen by mall guard Marlon Bacalando near Starmall at 1:35 a.m. on Alabang-Zapote Road in Las Piñas City.
“The guard said she was not wearing shoes, only socks, when she approached him for help. That’s when the police sought her statement,” Sulit said.
Sulit said Mara had claimed she was abducted by two men and was forcibly placed in a van after the murder.
In her first statement, Mara said she was dropped off near the mall and was not hurt because the men said they would release her “if she won’t do anything crazy.”
She then sought police assistance and was fetched by her half-brother, Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr., at past 2 a.m. for a medical checkup. With a report from Inquirer Research
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