MANILA, Philippines – Her last conversation with her slain daughter and only child, involving a house key, may not qualify as the sweetest, but it is one she will always remember for the rest of her life.
Candida Reyes, mother of slain UP Los Baños agriculture student Maria Victoria, said she was not able to talk to her daughter after she was stabbed inside their home in Biñan, Laguna.
Maria Victoria, fondly called as Vicky by her relatives and friends, was stabbed by a burglar, identified as Benigno Nayle Jr., inside their house last Tuesday.
Her father, Sixto, discovered her while she was struggling for her life at around noon.
"Nakalock ang pinto nang dumating ang mister ko. Kakain siya, pero walang nasagot. Kinalampag na niya yung pinto walang nasagot. May narinig siyang umuungol. Akala ng mister ko baka natutulog lang. Nung pangatlong ungol iba na yung [tunog]. Sinilip niya, may dugo," Candida told dzMM.
Candida, who is a teacher, said she was at school when the incident occurred. Her daughter was already unconscious when she arrived at the hospital.
Holding her daughter's hand, she told Vicky: "Huwag kang bibitiw kaya mo yan." The latter eventually succumbed to her wounds.
Vicky's last words, according to her father, were: "Tatay, tatay, dalhin mo ako sa ospital…tatay, wala na akong makita."
Candida said her last conversation with Vicky happened not so long before the stabbing incident. The conversation involved her husband's copy of their house key, which she accidentally brought with her.
The conversation happened at around 10:30 a.m.
"Pinag-usapan namin [iyung nadala kong susi]. Masaya po siya, sabi niya 'okay lang iyun nanay.' Sabi ko magagalit sa akin ang tatay mo nadala ko ang susi niya. Ang tagal-tagal nang naghahanap ng mister ko, kaya automatic na ipinadala ko agad.'" she said.
Candida estimated that her brother arrived at the house at around 11 a.m. to bring the key.
A neighbor then claimed seeing Reyes still talking to someone at around 11:30 a.m., leading her to conclude that the stabbing occurred not so long before Vicky was discovered by Sixto bathing in her own blood.
"Inisip ng iba, baka ang gumawa ay nasa bahay pa namin [nang dumating si Sixto]. Siyempre ano po ba ang initial reaction ng tatay, dalhin mo agad sa ospital," she said.
Candida said they are still puzzled as to how the suspect was able to enter their house, located in Barangay San Vicente. No sign of forced entry was seen by the police at the crime scene.
She added that she does not know the still at-large Nayle, who was reportedly a resident of the barangay as well.
She also noted that it was not the first time that their house was burglarized. In the first incident, Candida and Vicky lost their laptops to the burglar.
In the second burglary, police discovered that Vicky's laptop, cellphone, jewelry and some cash were taken.
Vicky eyed master's
Candida said Vicky had always included them in her dreams, making the loss even more unbearable for her and her husband.
She said Vicky, an Agriculture student planning to take up a master's degree in landscape architecture at the University of the Philippines – Diliman, wanted to build her a farm where she could spend time after retiring.
With Vicky gone, Candida said she will still strive to fulfill her daughter's dream.
Candida shared that Vicky was also a good painter and had recently accepted a position in UPLB's Painters' Club.
"Lahat ng pangarap niya [itutuloy namin]. Mahal na mahal niya ang Painters' Club. Siguro in one way or another, kung may maitutulong kami sa org niya, tutulong kami," she said.
As for her daughter's killer, Candida said: "Sana po makonsensya na siya at sumuko na lang. Kasi ang anak ko, wala pong kamuwang-muwang. Kumbaga napaka-simpleng bata lang po, may simpleng pangarap."
Vicky was the latest victim of violence involving a university student.
Earlier this month, University of Santo Tomas alumna Cyrish Magalang was killed in Bacoor, Cavite by drug addicted tricycle drivers.
Unlike the case of Vicky, Magalang's relatives were able to immediately obtain justice following the arrest of the murderers less than a week after the senseless killing.