Ex-cop held for Calamba massacre

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 19 2008 10:23 AM | Updated as of May 19 2008 06:23 PM

A retired policeman has been placed under police custody on Monday in connection with the massacre of eight people in Calamba City, Laguna, late Sunday night.

Chief Superintendent Ricardo Padilla, Calabarzon police director, said retired Senior Police Officer 4 Florencio Peria has been brought to Camp Vicente Lim in Calamba.

Padilla said Peria was taken to the Calabarzon police headquarters after forensic investigators who responded to the massacre in Barangay Hornalan recovered a magazine that had his name on it.

He said Peria was subjected to paraffin examination.

Initial reports said gunmen fired at four houses in Barangay Hornalan killing eight people and hurting six others before midnight Sunday. The fatalities were identified as Dennis Balisong, 29; Bladen Balisong, 7; Gladys Balisong, 8; Jerry Pili, 49; Gloria Pili, 39; Sara Pili, 10; Julie Anne Pili, 4; and Mary Jane Pili, 13.

Injured were Marina Balisong, 39; Denmark Balisong, 6; Vicente Redondo, 42; Aurelio Abanilla, 52; Erica Pili, 9; and Cherry May Pili, 17.

Padilla said Peria had told admitted that he usually gives out gun magazines to his friends while in active service, but initially denied his involvement in the killing.

"We are investigating him; that's why we have brought him to the camp," the police official told radio dzMM.

Lone gunman

Padilla said the initial theory of police investigators is that the massacre was done by a lone gunman, who may have grudges against the victims or was under the influence of drugs.

He said neighbors of the victims told police investigators that the gunshots were not continuous and that the gunman went from one house to the other.

After spraying bullets at the four houses, the suspect also shot dead a dog and a cow and fired at a parked car.

"One of the angles being looked at is the gunman could be under the influence of drugs or has grudges against the fatalities," Padilla said.

The bullets found at the crime scene came from a single M-16 rifle, he added.

Padilla said the Laguna Police Provincial Office is having difficulty in determining the real motive in the killing because the casualties have "no common denominator."

He added that the victims were "lowly farmers" and were not involved in a land dispute.

Meanwhile, police chief Director General Avelino Razon Jr. had called for an emergency command conference with all the Calabarzon provincial directors. Calabarzon is composed of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon.

The emergency command conference came in the light of the two massacres that hit Laguna in the past three days.

On Friday, bank robbers shot dead 10 people inside the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. branch at the Science Park in Cabuyao town.

Razon had said that the police are now pursuing a robbery syndicate operating in Laguna and Batangas provinces. He declined to name the group.

Padilla, meanwhile, said investigators have not identified a single suspect in the robbery massacre.