Monday, April 27, 2009

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Suicide or parricide? Police still unsure

MANILA, Philippines - Quezon City Police District (QCPD) acting chief Senior Superintendent Elmo San Diego said yesterday initial findings of the investigators have “strengthened” the parricide angle in the death of broadcast journalist Ted Failon’s wife who was shot last Wednesday in the couple’s house in Quezon City.

Failon and his relatives, however, insisted that Trinidad Arteche-Etong, 44, shot herself in their house at 27 General Aquino street, Tierra Pura Subdivision in Tandang Sora, Quezon City.

Failon (Mario Teodoro Failon Etong in real life), a news anchor of ABS-CBN TV Patrol, claimed that his wife committed suicide inside the bathroom of one of their daughters.

He said that his wife had experienced financial problems after the Holy Week.

Trinidad Etong suffered a gunshot wound in the left temple and died at the New Era General Hospital in Quezon City last Thursday night.

Both Failon and his wife tested negative for powder burns, but forensic experts said paraffin tests are unreliable.

Asked how the parricide angle could be pursued, San Diego clarified that they would have to conduct further investigation.

Dr. Filemon Porciuncula, head of the QCPD Crime Laboratory, said Failon and the other household helpers all tested negative for gunpowder burns and nitrates. Trinidad had also tested negative for gunpowder burns and nitrates. “This must be supported by the bullet trajectory found in the crime scene,” San Diego said.

“That (looking into the parricide angle) now appears to be the direction of the investigation,” he said.

Police arrested last Thursday driver Glenn Polan, housemaids Carlota Morbos and Wilfreda Bolleser, and houseboy Pacifico Apacible and brought them to the QCPD headquarters in Camp Karingal, Quezon City.

The police also took into custody Pamela Arteche, sister of the victim.

QCPD investigators said the sworn statements earlier given to the police by Failon and housemaid Morbos showed conflicting accounts of the events that transpired when Trinidad was found with a gunshot wound in the head.

Copies of the statements, with the conflicting entries already highlighted with a green marker, were shown to The STAR by a police source yesterday.

Failon’s statement read: “Pinuntahan ko po yung kwarto sa itaas pero naka-lock. Sumigaw po ako kay Lot (referring to housemaid Carlota Morbos) at pinakuha ko po yung susi kay Carlota at nang inabot nya ang susi, katabi ko na po si Carlota. Nang buksan ko ang kwarto nguni’t wala doon si misis. Kaya bubuksan ko sana yung pinto ng banyo pero naka-lock kaya bumaba si Carlota at kinuha yung bungkos ng susi at noong ibigay sa akin ni Carlota, binuksan ko yung pinto at pagbukas namin ay nakita namin na nakahandusay ang asawa ko na naliligo sa kanyang dugo.”

In her statement, Morbos said: “Habang ako ay nasa kusina at nagluluto ng pangtanghalian, dumating si Kuya Ted. Tinanong nya ako angAte mo Day?’ At sumagot ako ngnasa itaas po.’ At humingi sya sa akin ng isang basong tubig at binigyan ko sya. Ininom nya ito at pagkaubos ng tubig ay iniwan nya ang baso sa kitchen. Pumasok na sya sa loob ng bahay tapos umakyat po si Kuya sa itaas ng bahay. Bubuksan na po nya sana yung pintuan ng kwarto ng anak nyang panganay. Naka-lock po yung pintuan ng kwarto. Bumaba po sya ulit at pumunta sa kusina at hiningi nya sa akin yung susi ng kwarto ni Katrina at ibinigay ko kay Kuya Ted ang susi at sinabi nya sa akinhalika Lot samahan mo ako.’ Pumanhik kami sa itaas ng kwarto ni Katrina ngunit wala doon si Ate Trina kaya pumunta kami sa CR at binuksan ni Kuya Ted ngunit iyon at naka-lock. Inutusan ako ni Kuya Ted na kuhanin ang susi. Bumaba ako at naiwan si Kuya Ted sa tapat ng pintuan ng CR.”

Superintendent Franklin Moises Mabanag, chief of the Quezon City Police District-Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit, also told reporters in an interview that Morbos described the victim to be in a sitting position while Failon said his wife was almost in a lying down position.

Mabanag, however, noted that Failon and the household helpers were consistent in saying that the cleaning of the bathroom where Trinidad was found and the vehicle used in bringing her to the hospital was not on orders of Failon.

Porciuncula said they would also test the bloodied shirt and pants worn by Failon on Wednesday afternoon. He said they had also requested for the clothes worn by Trinidad.

He said that they would determine the actual point of entry of the bullet in Trinidad’s head. Doctors at the New Era General Hospital had initially told them the point of entry was the victim’s left temple.

QC prosecutor issues subpoena on Failon

Quezon City Chief Prosecutor Meynardo Bautista Jr. summoned yesterday Failon to appear before a preliminary investigation on the obstruction of justice charge filed against him and members of his household.

Bautista issued the subpoena after Failon failed to present himself during an inquest proceeding of the obstruction of justice charges last Thursday evening.

During the inquest proceedings, prosecutor Mary Jean Pamitan ordered the release of Pamela and Morbos without posting bail since there is no sufficient evidence against them.

The prosecutor, however, recommended a P12,000 bail bond for Apacible, Bolleser and Polan.

Apacible and Bolleser cleaned the bathroom where Trinidad was found and Polan cleaned the Mitsubishi Pajero that was used to transport the victim to the New Era General Hospital.

Lawyers of Failon’s camp posted bail for Bolleser, Apacible and Polan who were all released yesterday afternoon after Failon visited them at the QCPD headquarters.

Failon told reporters that the police have been unfair in handling the case and in filing of charges against them.

He accused the police investigators of getting back at him for his past exposés against police abuses.

Police investigators denied Failon’s allegations and assured the victim’s family that the police are conducting an impartial investigation.

Kung gusto nyong bawian ako sa mga balita at kumentaryo ko sa dzMM, ako na lang. Kung maari ako na lang at huwag na idamay sila Pamela,” Failon said.

QCPD director San Diego maintained the probers are conducting the investigation objectively and were not getting back at Failon.

Metro Manila police director Chief Superintendent Roberto Rosales said the work of the police was not done with partiality, and that Failon’s accusation was wrong.

Members of the media, except for a news crew of ABS-CBN, were barred from the detention area when Failon visited the QCPD.

Before leaving Camp Karingal, Failon told reporters: “Kahit yung iba twisted yung report, naiintindihan ko kayo.”

Failon evaded questions posed by reporters, including why he did not report to the police the supposed discovery of his wife inside the bathroom after the shooting.

Prosecutor Bautista said Failon, Bolleser, Apacible, and Polan remain liable for obstruction of justice.

Investigators said Failon might have obstructed justice when he gave limited details to the authorities and refused to surrender his mobile phone.

Bautista said Failon is now considered “at large” because he was not presented for inquest. The Prosecutor’s Office has scheduled the preliminary investigations into the charges against Failon and other suspects on April 21.

“He (Failon) must appear in the hearings to rebut the charges against him. If not, the case would be resolved using the evidences gathered, without his response,” Bautista explained.

DOJ probes link of Failon’s friend

Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to invite a friend of Failon who was at the house of the broadcaster when his wife was shot last Wednesday morning inside the couple’s house in Quezon City.

Gonzalez said he received information that businessman Delfin Lee was in the house of the Failons during the shooting incident.

“He (Lee) is significant in the case,” said Gonzalez, who clarified that he wants the NBI to check all angles in the investigation.

Gonzalez said among the speculations that circulated in text messages was that Lee allegedly helped Failon carry the body of his wounded wife from the bedroom to one of the bathrooms inside their house in Quezon City.

“With so many speculations it’s important that we should look at these different information dispassionately so we can piece together the puzzle. The NBI has to look into all these things. The caveat is that’s very raw information. But in the milieu we have now, it’s good to look at all information,” Gonzalez clarified.

Lee, according to initial reports, is connected with ABS-CBN and serves as a major sponsor who donates houses given as prizes in television shows like “Pinoy Big Brother,” “Wowowee” and other game shows of the network.

Lee, however, denied yesterday that he was at the crime scene and said that he was willing to cooperate with the police in the investigation of the case.

There is a witness to prove that he wasn’t at the Failon’s Tierra Pura residence last Wednesday morning, Lee said.

Lee was reportedly spotted at the New Era General Hospital last Thursday night. He was even interviewed by reporters and said he last visited the family during the blessing of their house last year.

“If they can find him (Lee), they should ask him – just an invitation,” Gonzalez added.

Gonzalez said investigators should focus on the motive of the shooting even as he also defended the police from criticisms in handling the investigation.

“The police are doing well. Although there are some lapses which may be caused by confusion, there is no violation of rules,” he said.

He said there was nothing wrong with the warrantless arrest of the household helpers of the Failons after charges of obstruction of justice were filed against them.

“That (warrantless arrest) is allowed. You can be arrested without warrant if the crime is committed in your presence. It also applies to fugitives,” he explained.

Gonzalez earlier tapped the NBI to assist the police investigators.

“I want them to be supportive of the police in the gathering and interpretation of evidence. Every suspect at the scene of the crime can be invited for questioning. But they cannot be held unless you inquest them,” he said.

Gonzalez believes that the cleaning of the crime scene was not a lapse in judgment but rather an “intentional act of tampering evidence.”

NBI to reconstruct crime scene

The NBI will try to reconstruct the crime scene, including possible retrieval of bloodstains and fingerprints in the house of Failon after members of the household contaminated the crime scene.

Head Agent Arnel Dalumpines, chief of the NBI Special Task Force (STF), said bureau forensic experts would use special chemicals and equipment to try to find the bloodstains from the walls, floors and other areas of the house where the victim was shot.

Dalumpines said the NBI agents would try to get more fingerprints with the use of chemicals and equipment.

He said the NBI would coordinate with the QCPD and review the other pieces of evidence that the police investigators have gathered.

National Capital Regional Police Office (NCRPO) director Rosales has created a Special Investigation Task Group to assist in the investigation of the death of Mrs. Failon.

The Task Group is headed by acting QCPD director San Diego.

Rosales clarified that there is no quarrel between Failon and the QCPD and the investigation on the case of Trinidad would go on.

“Failon is being probed on the death of his wife because he was there in the area when her body was found. Had he been in the province at the time, there is no need for him to be investigated,” said Rosales.

He appealed to Failon to fully cooperate with the police investigators so “the truth would come out.”

Rosales clarified that he gave no orders to relieve Superintendent Mabanag as head of the CIDU of the QCPD.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Failon's wife shot at home

MANILA, Philippines - The wife of broadcast journalist Ted Failon was in critical condition yesterday from a gunshot wound to the head inflicted at their home in Quezon City.

Doctors at the New Era Hospital declared Trinidad Etong, 45, brain dead from a bullet wound in her left temple.

Police said the incident happened at around 10:30 a.m. at the couple’s home.

Investigators initially questioned Failon, a news anchor of ABS-CBN TV Patrol, at his house at 27 General Aquino street, Tierra Pura subdivision in Tandang Sora, Quezon City.

Failon, Mario Teodoro Failon Etong in real life, claimed his wife committed suicide, but police doubted this, noting inconsistences in the stories given by members of the household.

The bathroom where the victim was found as well as the vehicle used to rush her to the hospital were cleaned of bloodstains and other items that may serve as evidence.

The gun was handed over to the police by Failon himself, rendering any fingerprint on the weapon useless in identifying who fired the shot.

Bong Osorio, ABS-CBN corporate communications head, sent to The STAR Failon’s official statement that read: “Hindi ko na tinapos ang aking programa sa dzMM kaninang umaga matapos kong makausap ang aking asawa sa telepono. Kaya umuwi ako kaagad at natagpuan kong nakakandado ang pinto ng banyo. Pinabuksan ko ang pinto at natagpuan ko ang aking asawa na duguan kung kaya’t itinakbo ko siya kaagad sa ospital (I did not finish my radio program at dzMM this morning after I talked to my wife over the telephone. I immediately went home and I found out the bathroom door locked. I asked for the door to be opened and found my bloodied wife and I rushed her to the hospital).”

Osorio also issued the statement of ABS-CBN over dzMM, urging the public to respect the privacy of Failon.

“We appeal to everyone to please respect the privacy of Ted Failon and his family. His wife is fighting for her life,” Osorio said.

Superintendent Franklin Moises Mabanag, chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit of the Quezon City Police District, said the doctors told them that the point of entry of the bullet was in the left temple of Trinidad. The bullet exited in the right temple.

Mabanag, however, said members of the household claimed the caliber .380 Walter PPK pistol used was found in the right side of the victim when she was discovered slumped inside the bathroom of the couple’s child on the second floor of the house in Tierra Pura.

He said Failon had committed a violation when he touched the gun that was used in the shooting.

When asked how investigators found the gun when they arrived at the crime scene, Mabanag told The STAR: “He (Failon) handed it (gun) over to us.”

Mabanag also noted that Failon had scratches on his face and a bruised nose.

Members of the media who were waiting outside the Failon residence and at the hospital earlier never got a chance to see Failon.

Mabanag said the housemaids had cleaned the bathroom where the victim was found and the blue Mitsubishi Pajero with license plate XPE-293 that was used to bring the victim to the nearby New Era General Hospital was also cleaned.

He said the investigators subjected all the members of the household last night to paraffin tests at the Failon residence.

Investigator Senior Police Officer 2 Gerry Abad said among those subjected to paraffin test were Failon, driver Glen Pulan, and housemaids Pacifico Apacible, Frida Bullesan and one identified only as Carlota.

Mabanag said it was Failon, Pulan and Trinidad’s sister Pamela who brought the victim to the hospital.

He said the Failon couple had a quarrel last Tuesday night, after which Trinidad reportedly left the house and came back only yesterday morning.

Mabanag showed a letter to members of media that was reportedly written by the victim after the couple’s fight. The reason for the fight was still not clear.

It stated: “Papa, I’m so sorry. Gustong gusto ko pong magsabi sa iyo ng totoo. Pero hindi ko po alam kung papaano ko uumpisahan. Sobrang takot na takot po ako. Aaalis po muna ako. Kasi hindi ko po kaya at nahihiya po ako sa iyo. Sana po mapatawad mo ako (I want to tell you the truth. But I don’t know how to start. I’m very afraid. I will leave now. I can’t take it and I’m ashamed. Hope you can forgive me).”

Mabanag said they could still not consider it a suicide note just yet and added: “We cannot declare yet that it was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

The couple had reportedly reconciled after the wife came back yesterday morning.

Failon reportedly left early yesterday morning for his morning radio program over dzMM and when he came back home, he searched for his wife. He found his wife slumped inside their child’s bathroom.

A gardener and a housemaid at a nearby house told reporters they did not hear a gunshot from Failon’s residence. They also noted that Failon’s shirt and that of the driver had bloodstains when they came out of the house to bring the wife to the hospital.

Meanwhile, former President Joseph Estrada is saddened by the tragedy involving Failon’s wife.

Estrada said he was shocked to learn that Failon’s wife was shot inside their house in Quezon City.

Failon was among the personalities being considered by Estrada to be included in the opposition’s senatorial ticket in the 2010 elections.

“I am very sad to hear the news. But I cannot elaborate on that because I do not know the bottom line of the incident,” Estrada said

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Texting may allow Finns to don8 to church

HELSINKI - Text messages may allow worshippers in Finland to donate money to their church without having to attend services.

Under current laws, the church cannot raise funds by texts in Finland, the home of mobile phone giant Nokia. Dean Matti Pikkarainen of Oulu Cathedral said he aimed to raise the issue at a nationwide church meeting next month.

"I've spoken this morning with some people who are in leading positions in our church to see if we can change the law," Pikkarainen said.

"It depends more on parliament than the church ... I believe the church is ready for this kind of modernization this year."

Pikkarainen said parishioners could use their phones to donate money after the end of church services, so as not to disturb other worshippers. Text messages would also give people more freedom to donate as they would not have to come to church.

"If you're listening to the service on the radio, TV or Internet, you can do it from home too. People nowadays are not always in church," he said.

At the end of 2008, about 80 percent of Finns were registered members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Oulu is in northern Finland.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

7 unusual ways to spend less money

Research shows that people spend money because they feel powerless. If you’re struggling with debt and spending outside your budget, check out these seven ways to feel more powerful in your life…because they’re also unusual ways to spend less money!

The following ways to feel more powerful in your life will help you stick to your budget....

7 Unusual Tips for Spending Less Money

1. Acknowledge the different types of power. You can feel physically powerful, spiritually powerful, intellectually powerful, professionally powerful, economically powerful, and on it goes. You’ll probably feel different types of power in different parts of your life - and at different times of your life.

2. Recognize unhealthy versus healthy power. Being manipulative, deceitful, vengeful, or passive-aggressive are unhealthy ways of expressing power. To feel more powerful in your life, ask yourself if you’re using your power for good…or to control others. Being healthy this way does affect your spending habits - because it’s difficult to be healthy emotionally, and spend every penny you have (and those you don’t)!

3. Rise to a work challenge. It doesn’t matter if you’re a store clerk, department head, or secretary of state - rising to a professional challenge increases your feelings of power. Pennsylvania-based freelance writer Lori Baer, says “Conquering a freelancing task I was nervous about fosters empowerment and greater confidence for next big thing.” Look at work challenges as ways to increase your personal sense of power…and let those confident feelings increase your resolve to spend less money.

4. Just say no. Some people - not just “people pleasers” - feel powerless to say no, for various reasons. “Saying, ‘No, I don’t want to,’ makes me feel powerful,” says writer Kathy Pfeiffer of Batavia, Ohio. “I often forget I have that choice - and sometimes it’s scary to say ‘no.’” To feel more powerful in life, give yourself permission to say no without feeling guilty, bad, or ashamed. This includes saying no to lunches or dinners you can’t afford, toys or luxuries that aren’t in the budget, and activities that are too expensive. Saying no is a great way to spend less money!

5. Play your favorite sport. “Hitting a golf ball a long, long way makes me feel powerful,” says Massachusetts-based senior public relations manager Jason Keith. I don’t know if golf games are effective ways to spend less money, but it’s a fact that playing sports you enjoy at will increase your feelings of power. You don’t even have to be good at golf to enjoy it! (And to spend less money in golf, consider a driving range or public park, but don’t hit them into the ocean a la Kramer in Seinfeld).

6. Exercise. Similarly, exercising can increase your feeling of power (for me, it’s Pilates!). “Doing weights at the gym makes me feel powerful,” says Céline Graciet, an English to French translator in Leeds, UK. “Strange, I know, as I’m still not very strong, but it gives me a confidence boost for some reason.” Taking self-defense or karate classes are also effective ways to increase your sense of physical and mental power. The more you exercise your body, the better you’ll feel…and the less need you’ll have to spend money on things you don’t need.

7. Create positive change. “The certainty that what I am doing creates positive change makes me feel powerful,” says Toronto-based writer, musician, and actor Desirée Ossandon, who is working with Canada Arts Connect. A fantastic way to feel more powerful in your life is to do something positive that improves other people’s lives. It doesn’t have to be a job; it can be a blog, volunteer work, helping a neighbor, or donating to a charity. The more involved you get in life, and other people’s lives, the more powerful you’ll feel…and the less money you’ll spend.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

One of world's rarest sharks caught and eaten

MANILA (AFP) - - A megamouth shark, one of the world's most elusive species, was caught, carved up and eaten by fishermen from a town in the Philippines, the environmental conservation group WWF said Tuesday.

So rare are megamouth shark sightings that each find is given a number -- this one, caught by fishermen from the coastal town of Donsol, was only the 41st ever seen or captured in the world.

But Elson Aca, a Donsol WWF representative, said it was butchered and its meat sauteed in coconut milk as a local delicacy, against the organisation's advice.

The four-metre (13-foot), half-tonne (1,100-pound) megamouth was snared by fishermen trawling for mackerel off the Bicol peninsula on Luzon island.

The species, which is named after its metre-wide mouth, is a fairly recent scientific discovery. The first specimen was caught off Oahu, Hawaii in 1976, the WWF said.

The scientific community hailed it as the 20th centurys most significant marine find, it added. Together with the whale shark it is one of only three filter-feeding shark species in the world.

It is classified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as "data deficient" because so few have ever been studied.

Ironically Donsol has earned a global reputation for marine conservation, after campaigners convinced the locals to stop butchering giant whale sharks which use the nearby waters to feed.

The town prides itself as the whale shark capital of the world and marine tourism is a key money earner.

The Philippines sits at the apex of a so-called Coral Triangle, considered by experts as a world centre for marine bio-diversity.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

SpitzTunes -- I am a Boy!

are u a fan of American Idol also? well if not, then this is a good start to watch them, their really good.