Suspect in Nida Blanca murder dies

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 08 2010 12:03 AM | Updated as of Apr 09 2010 11:23 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Philip Medel, the suspect in the killing of actress Nida Blanca in November 2001, died in Pasig City General Hospital Wednesday night.

Guada Mayo, eldest daughter of Medel, confirmed to ABS-CBN News the death of her father at 8:45 p.m.

She said Medel, who was detained for 8 years, was taken to the hospital Tuesday morning after he complained of difficulty in breathing.

Quoting Dr. Allan Salvador Custodio, an internal medicine resident at Pasig General Hospital, Mayo said her father died due to blood infection caused by pneumonia. 

Medel was 62 years old.

Custodio said Medel was already very weak when he arrived at the hospital. He said Medel was reported to have been coughing for 2 weeks and was not eating well.

The doctors discovered that his pneumonia was already chronic and had caused sepsis or blood infection.

He said Medel died at the charity ward since there was no space available at the public hospital’s Intensive Care Unit.

In 2001, Medel surrendered to police and confessed to having killed Blanca, who was found beaten and stabbed numerous times in her car in the parking lot of Atlanta Center in Greenhills, San Juan.

After several days, Medel recanted his confession and claimed he was tortured by the police to own up to the crime. However, he remained a suspect and was kept in jail.

The authorities’ prime suspect in the killing was Rod Strunk, Blanca’s husband, who went to the US in 2003 before charges were filed against him. The US government later denied an extradition request for Strunk to stand trial.

Strunk died in 2007 after jumping off a balcony in Tracy, California.