ONE of three men believed to have tried to rob a 62-year old Filipino-Chinese businesswoman in Talisay City in Cebu last All Saints’ Day before killing her and stuffing her body inside a refrigerator was arrested by pursuing policemen yesterday morning, Police Regional Office 7 director, Chief Superintendent Debold M. Sinas said.
Suspect Jay-r Banilad is now undergoing questioning in connection with the murder of Victoria Po Loa inside her house in Barangay Tabunok in Talisay City, said the official “There is an ongoing follow-up operation to arrest two more suspects in this gruesome case and we are banking on information provided by the victim’s family and some neighbors,” Sinas told the Journal Group.
The official said the body of Loa was found stuffed inside a refrigerator in her house on All Souls’ Day and triggered a massive investigation by the Talisay City Municipal Police Station led by Supt. Marlu P. Conag which led in the identification and arrest of the suspect.
According to Sinas, Talisay police investigators found an informant that led them to the location of the suspects in Badian town hours after the body of the victim was discovered.
“This is a coordinated manhunt operation involving members of the Talisay, Badian and Moalboal police stations as well as the Cebu Provincial Mobile Force Company,” the Central Visayas police director said.
When arrested, the suspect yielded a chamber-loaded caliber .45 pistol, he said. “However, his two accomplices were not around during the Badian operation,” he said.
In a report to Philippine National Police chief, Director General Oscar D. Albayalde, the official said the family of the victim aired strong belief that the three were the ‘persons of interest’ in the death of their matriarch.
It turned out that the victim was last seen alive around 5 p.m. last Thursday, All Saints’ Day, with the second ‘person of interest,’ their house-helper identified only as alias ‘Johnny.’ The rest of the family were not around when the victim was killed.
Sinas said the Loa family has been robbed at least thrice, losing millions of pesos worth of cash and jewelry as well as eight licensed firearms as the Loas are known members of a local gun club.
“They (Loa family) already have suspicions that the three suspects might be responsible for the series of theft in their house prompting them to force them out of their house,” he said.
The suspects were forced to rent a house somewhere in Minglanilla town which allowed them to easily reach the residence of the Loas.
Sinas said an investigation showed there was no forced entry at the victim’s house. “The victim’s five dogs who were all inside the house did not bark at all leading us to believe that the suspects were all known to the victim,” he said.
The official said robbery appears to be the suspects’ main objective since investigators discovered that they tried but failed to break open a 50-kilo steel vault inside the victim’s room.
“There is a very big possibility that the suspects forced the victim to give them the vault’s code but she did not forcing them to kill her,” he said.
The elderly woman was hit by a hard object in the head and body which resulted to her death. She had several hematomas in the stomach when her body was found.
“Scene-of-the-crime-operations (SOCO) operatives managed to lift important fingerprints at the scene which were all believed to have been left by the suspects. This is very important in pursuing the case against the suspects,” Sinas said.
With Zaida Delos Reyes