His name is Roby Dela Torre, a 61-year-old construction worker from the Bicol region. His work brought him to different construction sites around the country. In 2011, he was assigned to a site in Sitio Pisang, Barangay San Jose Patag, Sta. Maria, Bulacan.
This is where he met the Rosie Bandiola and her family.
According to Rosie Bandiola, Roby became a good friend of the family and a good uncle to her children.
“Malapit mga anak ko dun sa kanya,” she says. “Pati ‘yung anim na taon, ‘pag nakita niya, humihingi siya ng pera. Minsan, magdadala siya ng tinapay, pagkain, kaya napalapit sa kanya.”
Little did they know that Roby had a hidden agenda. Apparently, the 61-year-old was attracted to Rosie’s 16-year-old daughter, Roselle. While Roby was a good man, Rosie was against the idea of him courting her daughter. Rosie talke to Roby and all the while, she thought he had stopped. She didn’t know that whenever she was away, Roby would visit Roselle… And that they were already involved.
Roselle’s friend, Precious Joy Arena, however, was aware of the relationship.
“Naging sila po nung ano, hindi ko alam kung anong date, pero ipinakilala po sa’kin ni Roselle nung mga August po, mga limang buwan na po sila,” Precious says. “Lahat po ng gusto ni Rosel, ibinibigay po ni Kuya Roby.”
At first, everything was going well. But apparently, Roselle had another relationship—with another man her age.
“Pinag-aawayan po nila madalas ‘yung lalaki,” Precious recounts. “Minsan nga po natatako kami dun, minsan po nagbabanta.”
Roselle’s siblings became worried.
“Minsan po, sinasabihan din [namin siya], hindi naman po siya sumasagot,” Roselle’s sister Roae Ann says. “Minsan sabi ko tigilan na siya, layuan na kasi may boyfriend naman siya. Siguro naghahanap din siya ng ama kasi lumaki kami wala kaming ama. Tapos si Mama lang lagi naming kasama.”
“Sinasabihan nga po naming ‘yun na hiwalayan niya na po ‘yun kaysa naman po magtagal po baka kung anong mangyari, eh wala po, balewala sa kanya,” Precious adds.
Until one day, their worst nightmares were confirmed.
Crime of passion
On October 22, 2011, a bloodied Rose Anne was rushed to the hospital around past midnight. Rose Anne was immediately given medical attention. But her sister, Roselle, was left at home. The authorities were notified of the incident.
“Pagdating naming sa bahay ay nadatnan namin ang isang babae, nakahandusay sa iasng sulok ng kanilang bahay at tila walang buhay,” investigator-on-case PO2 Benrashid Mansul of the Sta. Maria, Bulacan PNP says. “Maraming dugo ang kumalat sa loob ng bahay ng biktima. At ‘yung biktima, nakasubsob, nakataob siya sa may lamesa ng kusina at puno ng saksak sa likuran at sa kanyang braso at mayroon din sa pigi na nakita namin.”
Based on autopsy results, Roselle sustained 12 stab wounds on different parts of her body and died on the spot.
When her sister, Rose Anne, was finally able to speak, she recalled the events leading to Roselle’s death.
“Mga 12:30 ng medaling araw, itong dalawang biktima na si Rochelle na namatay at si Rose Anne na kapatid niya ay naglalakad pauwi sa bahay,” PO2 Mansul says. “Pagpasok nila sa bahay ay nadatnan nila si Mang Roby, mag-isa.”
“Nakahiga na siya pero alam po naming na nakainom kasi may nakita po kaming bote ng alak tapos hindi na naming ginising,” Rose Ann recalls. “Natulog na kami. Nakaidlip po ako, nagising po ako nung narinig ko na ginigising niya ‘yung kapatid ko, sabi niya ‘Gumising ka, mag-uusap tayo’ sabi pong ganun.”
When Roselle refused to go out, Roby got up and took his bag. They thought he was going to leave already but were surprised by what happened next.
“Pagbukas po niya [ng bag], biglang hugot ng kutsilyo,” Rose Ann says. And then Roby began stabbing Roselle.
Rose Ann tried to stop him but he was too strong for her.
“Tinulak ko po ‘yung matanda, tapos sabay tinulak din niya ‘ko tapos sinaksak niya po ‘yung paa ko,” Rose Ann says. “Binalikan niya po ‘yung kapatid ko. Nakarating po ‘yung kapatid ko sa may pintuan. Nawalan nap o ako ng malay, nakita ko lang nilapitan ng matanda tapos sinaksak po siya.”
After getting Rose Ann’s testimony, the authorities sprung into action and searched for the suspect.
“[Isang] concerned neighbor ang nakapagsabi sa amin na mayroon daw itong isang bahay sa kabilang baryo at maaring doon tumakbo ang suspek,” PO2 Mansul says.
The arresting team immediately proceeded to the said location.
“Kinatok nila ‘yung bahay na walang ilaw,” PO2 Mansul recalls. “Pagkatok nila, ikinagulat din nila na ‘yun mismong si Mang Roby ang siyang nagbukas sa kanila na duguan ang pantalon at ‘yung kamay so parang kararating lang niya. Hindi pa siya nakakapaghugas ng mga dugo dugo sa katawan niya.”
They brought Roby to the hospital and he was positively identified by Rose Ann as the man who killed her sister.
After a thorough investigations, the authorities confirmed that jealousy was the motive behind the crime.
“Kasi nabanggit niya sa akin nung siya ay nandito, isang linggo bago nangyari ang insidente ay nakita niya umano itong si Roselle na may kasamang ibang lalaki,” PO2 Mansul recounts. “Dahilan para magalit siya nang ganun kay Roselle dahil sa kabila ng kanyang parang sakripisyo para sa kanya ay niloko pa rin siya.”
After the investigation, Roby Dela Torre was charged with murder with frustrated homicide. He is currently detained at the Malolos Provincial Jail while his case is being tried.
Meanwhile, for Roselle’s family, closure will only come once Roby is convicted.
“Gusto ko makulong siya ng habambuhay,” Rose Ann says. “Sabi ko sa sarili ko na dapat mamatay din siya hindi sa sakit. Gusto ko mamatay din siya sa loob ng kulungan na naghihirap, na pagdusahan niya ‘yung ginawa niya.”