SOCO: The Amadeo parricide

Posted at 09/12/2010 1:13 AM | Updated as of 09/14/2010 1:19 AM

It was eight in the morning on August 23, 2008 when an anguished woman arrived at the Amadeo police precinct in Cavite. 

Vilma Rosales, in obvious panic, rushed to the police officers and asked for help in looking for her missing son. 

“Magpapablotter siya dahil di umano yung kanyang anak na si Joel, sampung taong gulang, ay nawawala,” Senior Police Officer 4 Liberato Buladas, Chief Investigator of the Amadeo police tells ABS-CBN Scene of the Crime Operatives. 

Ten-year old Joel Rosales.

SPO4 Buladas and his team were in the middle of gathering information from Vilma when, suddenly, her daughter arrived at the precinct. 

Almost in tears, she drops a shocking news—Joel has been found in the coffee farm where their father works.  Dead.

Upon hearing this, SPO4 Buladas and his team rushed to the said coffee farm located in Barangay Banay-Banay. 

True enough, they found the 10-year old child’s body.  And based on the position of the victim’s body, the authorities came up with a theory. 

“Pagpalo sa kanya ng suspek eh nakalayo pa siya mismo doon sa pinagbagsakan niya,” SPO4 Buladas explains.  “Nagpagulong-gulong pa siya doon nang matagal.”  And because they found only one blow on the head, the authorities assumed that the child did not die instantly but could have, instead, suffered a painful death.

Re-enactment.  The authorities believe that 10-year
Joel did not die instantly. (Photo by JV Noriega)

Crucial evidence

With this, authorities searched the area for possible evidence that might piece together the story behind Joel’s death. 

They found a blunt piece of wood which, according to SPO4 Buladas, could have been the murder weapon.  “Merong dugo iyong kahoy at meron siyang kapirasong bukol--iyong pinagkatuhog niya na posibleng bumaon doon sa ulo ng bata noong pinalo,” SPO4 Buladas says.

After finding the possible murder weapon, the question now was—who had the motive to kill an innocent child?

Possible suspect

During their inspection, the authorities were able to talk to Joel’s father, Ruben, who was a worker at the coffee farm. 

“Tinanong namin sa kanya kung sino ‘yong pwedeng gumawa nito,” SPO4 Buladas recalls. 

Ruben’s answer surprised the authorities.  “Sabi noong tatay, walang ibang pwedeng gumawa niyan kundi ‘yong nanay.”

When SPO4 Buladas heard this information, he immediately recalled the mother’s peculiar reactions earlier that day. 

“Noong nagpunta kami sa scene at nalaman niya na patay na ‘yong anak [niya], dapat sumama siya,” SPO4 Buladas remembers.  “Pangkaraniwang reaksyon ng tao naghi-hysterical.  Siya wala siyang ganoon.  Para ano lang siya normal.  Parang ordinary report lang na patay ‘yong anak niya.”

After that, the authorities decided to bring Ruben to the precinct where they could conduct further investigation.

A surprising twist

According to Ruben, it’s been a year already since he and his wife separated.   He said he would often find knives or blades on his wife’s bed that’s why he decided to leave her.  

“Ayon sa asawa, merong diperensya sa pag-iisip [si Vilma] kaya gusto niyang hiwalayan ito,” SPO4 Buladas recounts.  Three of their children decided to leave with Ruben.  But their youngest, Joel, decided to stay with Vilma.

But despite Ruben’s conviction that it was his wife who killed their son, he had no evidence that could prove his accusation. 

At that moment, Vilma returned to the precinct.  In her hand was a piece of letter—a letter which she claims was written by their son, Joel.  The letter said,

“Kung may mangyari sa’min ni Mama,
 si Papa ang may gawa kasi binantaan kami raw papatayin.
‘Pag ako namatay, pinatay ako ni Papa.”

Letter presented by the mother allegedly written by her son.

With this new piece of evidence, all eyes suddenly turned to Ruben who was now the new suspect.

Under suspicion.  The victim’s father, Ruben.

It’s all in the handwriting

All eyes were now on the victim’s father, Ruben. 

But even with the letter pointing to him as the murderer, Ruben swore that he could never harm his son.  “Kung ako ang gumawa noon eh di siyempre hindi ko na ‘yuo kukuhain pa doon sa pulo.  Di lalayas na’ko,” he insists.
 
Meanwhile, the authorities decided to authenticate the letter supposedly written by Joel. 

“Kumuha kami ng standard handwritten specimen doon sa notebook ng bata,” SPO4 Buladas explains.  “Nppng aming ikumpara dito [sa sulat] eh malayong-malayo naman. Tinanong [din] namin sa mga kapatid [ni Joel], hindi raw ‘yon sulat ng bata.”

With this new twist, the authorities’ suspicion were diverted back to the victim’s mother, Vilma. 

They asked her to scribble a few words on a piece of paper. 

That’s when the authorities saw that her penmanship was the same as the one on the letter which was supposedly written by her son.  “Tumibay ang aming hinala na ang nanay ang gumawa [nitong sulat],”  says SPO4 Buladas.

(Left) Letter presented by the mother to the authorities.
(Right) Specimen of the victim’s handwriting.

Eyewitness accounts

As if on cue, several of Rosales’s neighbors arrived at the precinct to tell the investigators what they witnessed on the night of the murder.  

One of them was Felix Ancana Sr. 

According to Felix, on the afternoon of August 20, 2008, he saw Vilma walking down the street with her son, Joel. 

“Basta napansin ko noon parang kinagagalitan niya ‘yong anak niya saka batak-batak nga niya,” Felix tells ABS-CBN SOCO.  “Basta noong nakita ko na patay ang bata, pumasok agad sa isip ko na ‘yong nanay nito [ang] may gawa nito kasi wala naming ibang gagawa noon eh.”

And, at that point, the authorities got an unexpected confession from Vilma.

Motive

After Vilma confessed, the question now was how could a mother possibly kill her very own son?

 “Ayon sa kanya, habang papunta sila sa kubo, itong anak niya ay iyak ng iyak.  Kinukulit siya nang kinukulit,” says SPO4 Buladas.  “Humihingi siya ng pera, nagpapabili sa kanya ng itlog.  Sa kakulitan ng bata, napuno na itong si Vilma at dahil sa kawalan din ng pera, nagdilim na rin daw ‘yong kanyang paningin at napalo niya itong anak.  Tapos iniwanan niya doon.”

While it is shocking that a mother could harm her son, resident psychiatrist Dr. Bernadette Arcenas says that Vilma could be suffering from a mental condition. 

“Hindi na normal ang kanyang pag-iisip,”  Dr. Arcenas says.  “’Yan ay isang sign of poor impulse culture.  Pag ikaw ay nasa verge ng anger, madaming pwedeng mangyari at itong isang krimen na ginawa niya ay isang impulsive act na hindi niya inisip kung ano ang magiging resulta.”

Facing the consequences

On August 26, 2010, Vilma was arrested by the authorities.  She was charged with parricide by the Tagaytay Regional Trial Court. 

ABS-CBN SOCO visited Vilma at the precinct where she is currently detained.  But contrary to her confession two years ago, Vilma now denies that she killed her son.  “Hindi ako ang gumawa noon.  Tinalsikan lang nila ng dugo ‘yong damit ko,” cries Vilma.  “Asawa ko ang may gawa noon.”

But despite her denial, Vilma’s fate lies now on how the judge will weigh the testimonies of the eyewitnesses and the evidences found by the authorities.  
 

Behind bars.  After her confession, Vilma was charged with
parricide by the Tagaytay Regional Trial court.