73-year-old Pedro De Vera had been a widower for years. When most of his children got married, he was left at their home in Barangay Aponit, San Carlos City, Pangasinan with only his youngest son, Jerry, to accompany him.
|73-year-old Pedro De Vera
The set-up worked well for them. Jerry always helped his father with the chores, and they had a good father-son relationship.
That is, until Jerry’s girlfriend moved in with them.
“’Yung ka-live-in niya, nakilala niya sa text-text,” Jerry’s older brother, Jose, said.
“Nasa Gerona raw siya nun, nagte-text-text daw sila. Iyon, pag-uwi niya, parang nagkita sila, sumama na. Parang nagtanan na, dinala dun sa bahay namin. Tatay ko, tinanggap naman niya.”
They got along well at first. But little by little, Jerry began to change. He became temperamental. Fights between him and his father became frequent.
“Nung dumating ‘yung babaeng ‘yun sa buhay ni Jerry, parang nasira ulo niya,” Jose said.
The search for Mang Pedro
At around 6:00 p.m. on April 16, 2011, Mang Pedro’s nephew, Roberto, noticed something peculiar.
“’Yung mga baka ni tiyo, nasa bukid pa,” he said. “Nagtataka kami bakit wala pa si tiyo, anong nangyari sa kanya. Kasi hindi ganoon si tiyo na pinapabayaan niya ‘yung baka niya. Imposible.”
They began searching the farm for Mang Pedro but he was nowhere to be found. Neither were Jerry and his live-in partner. Come night time, they still could not find Mang Pedro, so they decided to head back home.
The next day, they resumed their search, and were shocked by what they found in the farm's septic tank.
“Nakita naming nakalabas ‘yung bandang puwetan niya,” Roberto said.
They immediately alerted the authorities that they had found Mang Pedro's body.
“Nung pagdating po namin doon, nakita po namin ‘yung poso negro na mayroong paa ng tao na nakalabas,” investigator-on-case PO2 Jorge Abao said.
Mang Pedro's leg had been burned, Abao said, and the right side of his face bore bullet wounds.
When the Lingayen Scene of the Crime Operation operatives lifted Mang Pedro's body from the septic tank, they saw the "sumpak" or makeshift gun that was used to shoot him.
Post-mortem examination showed that Mang Pedro died due to a gunshot wound, and that the killers had tried to burn his body before putting it in the septic tank.
|The crime scene: 73-year-old Pedro De Vera was found dead and dumped in their farm’s septic tank.
“’Yung pagkasunog, apektado ang likod, sa may lumbar area, doon sa may balakang hanggang sa may puwetan niya,” San Carlos city health officer Dr. Edwin Quinto said.
“Nag-extend ito sa kanang bahagi ng anterior abdomen hanggang doon sa may harap ng hita, nasunog—2nd degree hanggang 3rd degree.”
“Ewan ko ba kung bakit nangyari ‘yun. Kung hindi nangyari ‘yun, matagal pa ang buhay ng tatay ko,” the victim’s son, Jose, lamented. “Malakas pa siya. May exercise palagi, nag-aararo pa ‘yun. Siya mag-isa.”
During the course of the investigation, the authorities found no suspect other than Mang Pedro's youngest son, Jerry.
“Nag-interview tayo ng mga tao na pwedeng magbigay sa atin ng information and it so happened na nabanggit nila na ito palang anak niya ay agad umalis right after ng insidente,” San Carlos Chief of Police P/Supt. Marlon Tayaba said.
Mang Pedro's nephew also gave a statement that further implicated Jerry.
“Noong alas dos ng hapon, nagpunta siya doon sa bumibili ng baka, ibinebenta niya ‘yung baka, ang sinasabi niya, ikakasal daw sila ng babae [na ka-live-in niya],” Roberto said.
Jerry had sold the cow some time before Mang Pedro was found dead.
Because of all the circumstances pointing to Jerry as the person most likely to have killed Mang Pedro, the authorities launched a manhunt for him.
“Napag-alaman namin kung saang municipality at barangay itong girlfriend niya, ‘yun ang tinumbok namin,” P/Supt. Tayaba said. “It so happened na pagdating na pagdating namin doon sa barangay na ‘yun, nagtanong kami sa barangay officials at itinuro naman kaagad ‘yung bahay ng girlfriend ng nasabing suspek.”
They easily found Jerry, arrested him, and brought him to the San Carlos Police Station. Eventually, he confessed to the murder. ABS-CBN News was able to document his confession.
“Nag-away kami,” Jerry said. “Pinagbibintangan po ako na kumuha ng pera niya.”
Jerry also told the authorities how he committed the murder.
“Nagsusunog po ako ng dahon ng kawayan, tapos saka ko po nagawa ‘yun,” he said. “Hindi ko po sinasadya na sunugin siya. Nadamay lang [siya] kasi kumalat ‘yung apoy. Tapos na akong magsunog, pinabayaan ko lang ‘yung apoy. Tapos hindi ko namalayan, sunog na pala siya kasi umalis na ako.”
“Nagsisisi na ako.” he said. “Nagdilim po ang paningin ko sa kanya eh kaya nagawa ko po sa kanya ‘yun.”
|Confessions of a killer: Jerry De Vera confesses to killing his father, Pedro De Vera.
Meanwhile, ABS-CBN SOCO interviewed Jerry’s live-in partner, Marina (not her real name). According to her, on the afternoon of April 15, Jerry told her that his father was accusing him of stealing his money. After their conversation, Marina went to their room to sleep.
“Hanggang sa may narinig na lang po akong parang pumutok na [baril], pero hinayaan ko lang kasi madalas naman po akong nakakarinig ng putok sa kanila,” she said.
“Iinom sana ako ng tubig, nakita ko ‘yung jacket ng tatay niya na hawak-hawak niya na may dugo. Pinunta niya po doon sa may dahon ng mga kawayan, tinabunan niya ng dahon ng kawayan, saka niya sinunog.”
Pedro De Vera Jr., also known by his nickname, Jerry, was charged with parricide at the San Carlos City Regional Court Branch 57.
The accused pleaded guilty; from murder, his case was reduced to homicide. On March 14, 2012, Jerry was transferred to the Muntinlupa National Penitentiary where he will be serving a 14 to 20 years of imprisonment.
For the De Vera family, it was bittersweet justice.
“Masakit po kasi siya ang junior, siya pa ang gumawa ng ganoon,” Jerry’s brother, Jose, said. “’Di kami makapaniwala na nagawa niya ‘yun."
"Siyempre nami-miss ko rin ang tatay ko, nami-miss ko rin [si Jerry]. Nasa kulungan siya tapos hindi ko alam kung ano ang nangyayari doon. Kaya kung may paraan para madali siyang makalaya, gagawin ko para madali siyang makapagbagong-buhay.”
Aired on July 28, 2012