Nida’s last will, other documents found under her bed

- Jaime Laude () - November 23, 2001 - 12:00am
Police investigators looking into the Nov. 7 slaying of movie actress Nida Blanca stumbled yesterday into documents that bolstered their suspicion it was a case of parricide.

Task Force Marsha operatives discovered under Blanca’s bed her last will bequeathing about P80 million to her only child, Katherine Torres, her mother, two women identified only as Ditas and Mary Jane and her gardener.

It appeared that the late actress left nothing to her American husband of 22 years, Rod Lauren Strunk.

"We are puzzled why she did not leave anything to her husband," said Director Nestorio Gualberto, head of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group CIDG) who is overseeing the probe.

In a press statement, Strunk denied any involvement in the killing, claiming he was being framed by some people out to destroy the relationship between him and the actress’ relatives.

The documents found under Blanca’s bed also included titles to various pieces of real estate.

A former security guard, Philip Medel Jr., 54, has admitted his participation in the murder of Blanca and tagged the Australian-born Strunk as the mastermind.

Neighbors at the plush White Plains subdivision have told police that the couple’s relationship had turned stormy.

Gualberto said their investigation also showed that Strunk has been hooked on drugs and has been living an extravagant lifestyle with no means of income.

Gualberto said seven years ago, Blanca — Dorothy Jones in real life — had Strunk rehabilitated from drug addiction right inside their home, only for him to return to drug use.

Blanca still tried to save their marriage, until she discovered last year that he had run up a debts amounting to P600,000.

This allegedly infuriated the actress who confronted her husband about it. The confrontation only made matters worse, and Blanca reportedly decided to cut off their relationship.

"This is already too much, from now on you can’t expect anything from me," a witness quoted Blanca as telling Strunk.

However, she kept their quarrel secret to the extent that she even allowed him to continue living in the same house.

In his 10-page handwritten confession, Medel said Strunk and two women accomplices demanded some documents from Blanca as they ganged up on her inside her car parked at the sixth floor parking lot of the Atlanta Centre in Greenhills, San Juan where the multi-awarded actress worked as a director of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.

Medel said they killed Blanca at about 2 a.m. on Nov. 7, and left her body inside her car, a green Nissan Sentra Super Saloon.

The body was discovered at about 8:30 a.m. by security personnel of the building. It bore 13 stab wounds, mostly superficial.

"We are now verifying reports that Strunk got mad after learning that Nida never left a single inheritance (for him) and (he) devised plans to coerce the actress into allowing him to inherit some of her properties," Gualberto said.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has summoned Strunk, Medel and a certain Mike Martinez, an alleged go-between in the murder plot against Blanca, to appear at today’s preliminary inquiry at the DOJ.

Martinez’s wife, however, reported to the NBI that he was abducted on Monday by seven armed men and a woman while he was walking to his mother’s house in Sun Valley Subdivision in Parañaque City.

The DOJ directed the police to look into the veracity of the alleged kidnapping.

"We want to know if this was just stage-managed. We have already coordinated with the CIDG. We just want to make sure," State Prosecutor Emmanuel Velasco said.

Justice Secretary Hernando Perez said Martinez is a material witness in the case.

In his testimony, Medel said Martinez recruited him for the plot on Blanca for a fee of P50,000.

Medel said he never received the money. He said he decided to surrender as he was hounded by a guilty conscience. — With reports from Delon Porcalla, Mike Frialde

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