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Veteran journalist, 5 others dead in Pasay stabbing spree


A man apparently blinded by jealousy went on a stabbing rampage in a Pasay City condominium, killing his girlfriend and four other tenants, including a veteran journalist, and wounding four others, Tuesday night.

The amok, identified as Alberto Garan alias Abet, 39, Barangay Catugay, Baggao, Cagayan, was later shot dead by responding cops after a five-hour chase inside the 25-story Central Park 2 Condominium on De Jorge Street, Pasay.

The fatalities in the knife attack include 70-year-old Joel Palacios, a veteran journalist who also worked as spokesman of the Social Security System. He was retired and a tenant of the condominium.

Police said three of the victims – Garan’s girlfriend, Emelyn Sagun, 30, billeted at the condominium’s Unit 14004, 14th floor; Daisery Castillo, 12, of Unit 1623 16th floor; and Ligaya Dimapilis, 36, of Room No. 20001 – died on the spot.

Palacios, tenant of Room No. 002 on the 16th floor; and Letecia Ecsiagan, about 50 to 60 years old, succumbed to knife wounds at San Juan De Dios Hospital in Pasay.

Police also said four wounded victims identified as Belcris Elorde, 24; April Joy Sagarino, 20; Arlyn Dian Cordero, 20; and Margie Morales, 26, were reported in stable condition in same hospital.

Based on a police report submitted to Senior Superintendent Dionisio Bartolome, chief of Pasay City Police, Garan and Sagun had a heated altercation inside Unit 14004 around 6 p.m.

At the height of their quarrel, the suspect fired a .38-caliber revolver but it jammed, prompting Garan to get a 14-inch knife and stab Sagun.

Although severely wounded, Sagun managed to run to the hallway but Garan caught up with her and started stabbing her more as shown in a closed circuit television (CCTV) footage of the condo building.

Garan then lifted the body of the lifeless Sagun and dropped it on the staircase 14 floors down to the basement.

Garan then went out and stabbed eight more people whom he would cross paths with on the corridors of the condominium, including 12-year-old girl Castillo and Palacios, who was jogging with his wife along the hallway near his unit on the 16th floor. Garan then entered the room of Dimapilis and Room 2023.

Southern Police District (SPD) director Chief Supt. Tomas Apolinario said the condominium residents were asked to gather in a function room while policemen were looking for the suspect.

After almost five hours of hot pursuit, members of Pasay City Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team cornered Garan on the 23rd floor of the building where he was shot dead around 10:45 p.m. as he refused to surrender, according to Apolinario.

Bartolome said Garan locked himself up inside one of the rooms. He said the rooms from 20th floor up have busted lights.

“Bukod tangi yung isang kwarto doon na naka-lock tapos noong pumasok ang isang tao natin na may flashlight, kasi inundayan niya ng saksak. Doon na siya pinutukan,” Bartolome said.

Police investigation showed that Garan and Sagun had an illicit affair. Garan’s wife, identified as Thelma Talosig, and Sagun’s husband, Joel Talosig, are siblings.

Police learned that on August 24 in Cagayan, Thelma confronted Garan during which the suspect admitted he was having an affair with Sagun, and revealed they even had a sex video.

On the same day, Garan and Sagun left Cagayan to learn massage therapy. They arrived in Manila the next day.

Sagun stayed in the condominium unit through her sister, Jessie-Belle Sagun; while Garan stayed at his relatives’ house in Quezon City.

The suspect claimed he had been seeing Sagun with another man. He got jealous, which resulted in the violent incident.

On the night of the incident, Bartolome said Garan must have wanted to patch things up with Sagun but things got bad.

“’Yun ang claim niya na nakita niyang may kasamang lalake ang biktima. After niyang mapatay ‘yung babae, tinawagan ng suspek ‘yung asawa niya ang sabi, ginive-up niya ang pamilya para doon sa babae tapos makikita niya niloloko siya. So ‘yun talaga ang pinaka-reason ng blind rage niya,” Bartolome said.

Superintendent Deanry Francisco, Pasay police chief investigator, noted that four of the five victims were all women, which might indicate his anger towards women.

Police recovered the 14-inches kitchen knife used by Garan, the .38-caliber revolver left on Unit 14004, six spent shells from unknown caliber of firearm, and the suspect’s sling bag containing several IDs and three cellphones.

Police said Garan’s body was moved to Rizal Funeral Homes.

The National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) has spotted some security lapses in the Pasay City condominium that made it easy for the knife-wielding suspect to go on a stabbing spree.

NCRPO chief Director Oscar Albayalde said the police’s Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies (SOSIA) is now conducting investigation to identify the lapses and possible sanctions on the security agency contracted to secure the condominium.

“First of all, there was no security guard in the CCTV area and they admitted it. So they have no idea of what was happening,” said Albayalde.

“It was only when the commotion occurred that they reported it to the Police Community Precinct which is just a few steps away from the condominium,” said Albayalde.

Albayalde further said that the guards on duty would have constrained the suspect if they knew that he was only using a knife – which they would have easily known if they were monitoring the CCTV area.

“There were security guards detailed in both buildings and if they know what was going on, they would have acted on the matter knowing that the suspect is only armed with a knife,” he added.