|Robert Ponce, one of the suspects in the murder of Ruby Rose Barrameda at the National Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Manila. Photo by RemZamora for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines (1st UPDATE) – One of the suspects in the murder of Ruby Rose Barrameda has been arrested, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said on Thursday.
NBI Special Task Force (STF) said it arrested suspect Robert Ponce in Cauayan, Isabela on Wednesday after a 3-month surveillance.
"Sa tulong po ng intelligence asset natin, ibinigay sa amin ang info na si Robert nga ay nasa Cauayan, Isabela noong July 30," said NBI-STF chief Roland Argabioso.
"After that, nag-conduct kami ng mga undercover operations, nakunan namin ng photograph at pinakita namin ito sa witness namin at he positively identified na isa siya sa mga hinahanap natin," he added.
Argabioso said Ponce had been receiving a monthly allowance of P7,000 from Ruby Rose's husband Manuel Jimenez III.
In an interview with reporters, Ponce admitted that he was the one who poured cement into the drum where Ruby Rose's body was placed. The drum was found in 2009 in the waters off Navotas through the help of suspect-turned-state witness Manuel Montero, a former employee of the Jimenez family.
Ponce said he is also willing to turn state witness.
Ruby Rose went missing in 2007 at a time when she was having a dispute with Jimenez over the custody of their two children.
Due to Montero's testimony, murder charges were filed against lawyer Manuel Jimenez Jr., the father-in-law of Ruby Rose; Lope Jimenez, Manuel's uncle; Eric Fernandez; Lennard Descalzo; and Ponce.
Ponce, Descalzo and Fernandez, according to Montero, were tasked to abduct Ruby Rose from the Jimenez residence in Las Piñas City after visiting her children and bring her to the Buena Suerte Jimenez Fishing and Trading Compound, owned by Lope, where she would be killed.
He said Barrameda was strangled to death and was placed inside a steel drum, which was cemented before it was finally put inside a steel casing.
The steel casing was loaded on a truck with a built-in telescopic boom and was brought to the Navotas fishport and transferred to a tug boat and then thrown into the sea.
As of posting, Ruby Rose's parents and sister Rochelle were at the NBI asking Ponce about his participation in the murder. – with reports from Noel Alamar and Ricky Velasco, dzMM