Failon wife tests negative for gunpowder burns – police

04/17/2009 | 09:22 AM


trina-failon (Updated 10:30 a.m.) MANILA, Philippines – The wife of ABS-CBN news anchor Ted Failon, Trinidad Arteche Etong, tested negative for gunpowder burns but the results are still inconclusive on the circumstances surrounding her shooting, investigators from the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) said Friday.

In an exclusive interview with GMA News’ Arnold Clavio over GMA News’ Unang Hirit, QCPD Crime Laboratory office head Dr. Filemon Porciuncula said that the paraffin tests conducted on Etong’s both hands on Thursday night yielded negative results.

“Base po sa ginawang paraffin examination ng aming chemist, lumabas po sa resulta na negative po sa gunpowder burns yung kaniyang parehong kamay, yung left and right,” Porciuncula said.

[Based on the paraffin examination conducted by our chemist, the results yielded negative results for gunpowder burns on her both hands.]

Etong succumbed to cranial injury, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and subsequent multi-organ failure about 8:50 p.m. Thursday at the New Era General Hospital in Quezon City. She had been fighting for her life since Wednesday.

Porciuncula said that the test results could indicate the possibility that someone else might have shot Etong.

“Nagpapahiwatig po ito na mayroong porsiyento na ‘di siya (Etong) nagpaputok ng baril [This could increase the chances that she did not pull the trigger],” Porciuncula said.

But QCPD Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (CIDU) head Senior Superintendent Franklin Moises Mabanag said that the latest development would not automatically rule out the possibility that Etong might have shot herself.

“Kahit na negative, ‘di pa rin maiko-conclude na suicide nga ito or mayroon isang tao na siya ang dahilan (ng pagkakabaril),” Mabanag said in the same interview with Clavio.

[Despite the negative results, we cannot conclude yet that it is a case of suicide or someone else pulled the trigger.]

All negative

On Thursday, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) head Chief Superintendent Roberto Rosales said Failon also tested negative in the paraffin test, but said the results are still “inconclusive.”

In a separate radio interview on Friday, Mabanag told radio dzBB anchor Mike Enriquez that Failon’s three house helpers and their driver – Pacifico Apacible, Carlota Morbos, Wilfreda Bolliser and Glen Polan – were found negative for gunpowder burns.

“Negative po lahat [They were all tested negative],” Mabanag said.

Despite this, everyone within the house remains either a suspect or a witness, he said.

“Lahat po ng nasa loob ng bahay na yon ay pwedeng testigo at suspek na iisa ang kalagayan. Ang ibig namin pong sabihin, wala naman po sigurong ibang magpu-pull ng trigger kundi ang biktima lamang o ang mga tao na nasa bahay na yun,” he said.

[Everyone in the house may be suspect or a witness, they are all on the same standing. What we mean is that there is probably no one else who pulled the trigger except for the victim or someone else in the house.]

Possible motive

Police would also now include in its investigation the possible motive of whoever pulled the trigger, he said.

“May mga nagsasabi pong mga impormasyon na very raw naman, so we need to confirm it, that it involves money, it involves somebody, somebody else, a person, at ito’y ikukumpirma pa namin,” he said.

[We received information that is very raw that we need to confirm–that it involves money, it involves somebody, somebody else, a person, and we’re still going to confirm this.]

On Thursday, police charged Failon, his four house helpers, and his sister-in-law Pamela Arteche with possible violation of Presidential Decree 1829 or the law penalizing the obstruction of apprehension and prosecution of criminal offenders.

Failon was charged for his failure to immediately report the incident to police and for “disturbing” the crime scene. According to investigators, the gun allegedly used in the shooting passed hands, making it hard for the police to reconstruct the crime scene.

Investigators were also greeted with an already “cleaned up” scene of the incident on Wednesday: the bathroom where Failon’s wife was reportedly found turned up spotless, while the vehicle used to rush her to the hospital had also been scrubbed.

According to police investigators, Failon’s house maids admitted cleaning the bathroom, while Polan removed the blood stains in the Pajero vehicle.

Arteche was included as co-accused because she refused to have her sister undergo paraffin test.

Despite filing charges against the five, police are not discounting the possibility that Etong committed suicide as claimed by the broadcaster, particularly since she supposedly left a letter expressing remorse over a problem between the couple. Failon had earlier said he and his wife had some financial troubles. – with reports from Sophia Dedace and Jam Sisante, GMANews.TV