A suspect in the killing of five family members in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan on Wednesday denied doing the deed, saying he was tortured by police to confess to the crime.
In an interview with ABS-CBN's Failon Ngayon, suspect Carmelino Ibañez, 26, said he was both threatened and tortured by the police to confess.
"Kaya ko nasabi yun kasi natatakot ako sa mga pulis kasi po tinorture po ako nila sa likod po...Binalutan po nila ako ng plastic sa ulo, tapos inanuhan po ako ng martilyo sa kamay kaya nasabi ko po yun," he told ABS-CBN News.
Ibañez admitted that he had been drinking and was in his house when he voluntarily went with the police.
"Sumurender po ako kasi natatakot po ako kasi sabi po nila kapag umuwi daw po ako, baka kung ano daw pong gagawin sa akin," he added.
For his part, Central Luzon police director Chief Supt. Aaron Aquino denied that Ibañez was tortured.
"Makikita niyo ba na may markings siya sa katawan? Na pinahirapan namin siya? Wala ho. We will never do that," he said.
He stressed that after Ibañez's alleged "confession", authorities called for a press conference and allowed the suspect to say a few words before the media.
"Sinabi niya ang totoo, na siya yung pumatay at siya ang gumahasa at ito po ay dahil sa pagkalulon niya sa droga. Yun ang pagkakasabi niya sa harapan ng media, sa harapan natin, nationwide," he said.
The police official said Ibañez had a chance to clear his name and divulge his claim when he executed his extrajudicial confession, which was done in the presence of a lawyer.
"Bakit hindi niya sinabi? Ngayon, nagbabago na naman isip niya kung ano-ano sinabi. Well, we expect that. Nung una, sabi niya ginahasa niya. Ngayon biglang hindi na niya ginahasa. Tapos ngayon dinawit na din ang pulis na tinorture siya...makikita naman yan during the investigation," he pointed out.
Ibanez's retraction runs counter to his earlier confession that he had killed all five of the victims- Aurora Dizon, her daughter Estrella, and three grandchildren aged 1, 5 and 11.
He earlier told ABS-CBN News that he raped both Aurora and Estrella at the spur of the moment. "Parang naisipan lang," he said.
He also said he and his cohorts, aliases "Tony" and "Inggo", were under the influence of illegal drugs and alcohol when they killed the five.
Ibañez however tested negative for drug use last week.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa said the test may have turned out negative because the suspect only took a small quantity of low grade shabu.
The suspect, he added, also took the drug test more than 48 hours after the murders. A urinalysis can only detect drugs in the body up to 48 hours after it was taken.
Ibañez remains under police custody, as of this posting.
KILLINGS OF 'PERSONS OF INTEREST'
Aquino said police are still investigating the killings of two "persons of interest" in the Bulacan massacre.
They were identified as Rosevelth Sorima and a certain alias "Inggo."
"Sa ngayon, blangko pa ang kapulisan tungkol sa mga grupo, indibidwal na gumawa dito," he said.
Aquino said vigilantes could be behind the crime. He said it is also possible that the suspects are out to kill each other.
"Any individual or group can do this. It can be vigilantes na galit sa kanila or sila-sila po, nagkakapraningan na po sila. Sila-sila nagpapatayan na kasi natatakot sila na baka mamaya ma-invite yung isa sa kanila na magsalita na rin kung ano ang role ng bawat isa," he said.
With the National Bureau of Investigation now in the picture, Aquino said this is a welcome development.
"Magtutulungan kami ng NBI para mapalawig pa ang imbestigasyon dito and I'm happy for that," said Aquino.
He believes that the NBI's result will not differ from the findings of the police.
"Hindi naman siguro, kasi unang-una the NBI will also depend on us. It will be a parallel investigation so magsisimula sila sa investigation jointly together with us. Kami yung parang magiging kaagapay nila sa pagiimestiga. I'm 100 percent sure hindi magbabago yung investigation," he said.
Police are still waiting for the results of forensic evidence brought to Camp Crame.
"Nakiusap ako sa crime lab kung pwede ito muna unahin nila, i set aside yung ibang ginagawa nila para lang magkaroon ng resulta. So they promised me in two weeks time the DNA test will be out," he said.
ADMISSIBLE IN COURT
Meanwhile, the Public Attorney's Office said Ibañez's confession that he murdered the five in Bulacan will be admissible in court even after he backtracked on his earlier statements.
"Lahat ng sinasabi niya noon ay consistent sa crime scene e. Hindi po maaaring masira iyung probity ng interview ng media sa kanya," PAO chief Persida Rueda-Acosta told radio DZMM.
She said the suspect's earlier statements could still be used as evidence since he was not coerced by the media.
"Admissible po ang interview ng media dahil hindi naman pulis ang media. Kaya nga napakahalaga ng media sa ating lipunan dahil ang makukuha mong mga interview na iyan, spontaneous iyan e. Wala namang baril ang media, camera lang," she said.