Businesswoman, 3 kids, 3 maids massacred in Zamboanga
- Roel Pareño () - December 20, 2002 - 12:00am
ZAMBOANGA CITY — A wealthy family of four and three household employees were found murdered in the family’s home here, police said yesterday.

The family driver reported the grisly discovery after he found the bloodied bodies of his employer Juliet Tan, her three children and three household staff at their house in Barangay San Roque, five kilometers from the city proper, early Thursday.

Two of the suspects in the massacre — Rudy Botane, the slain businesswoman’s stay-in helper, and Jonas Buenaventura — were arrested in a safehouse in Barangay Lumbangan here at 2:30 p.m. yesterday. The suspects’ bloodstained clothes were recovered by policemen who made the arrest.

The suspects will not be presented to media pending further investigation, police authorities said.

The bodies of the victims, lying in their own blood, were discovered by the family driver Nelson Damian when he reported for duty at the victims’ residence.

Tan, 47, a widow, died from a blow to the head. Police investigators believe she was raped before she was killed. Her body was found near the main door of the house.

Tan owned a large mango and calamansi plantation and a wine distillery here.

Her children were identified as Frederick, 22; Christopher, 20; and Catherine, 13. The bodies of Frederick and Christopher were found at the stairwell.

The helpers were identified only as Lolita, Rolita and Oliver. The two female maids were found in the maids’ quarters. The houseboy was believed to have been killed in his quarters, then dragged near the gate.

They all died from blows to the head and suffered stab wounds.

Damian said he was shocked after he found most of the bodies inside the Tans’ house, which is surrounded by an eight-foot tall concrete fence. He immediately reported the massacre to Tan’s brother Carlos Estrellado, who in turn informed the police.

Tan’s neighbors said they only heard someone screaming briefly — like he or she was being beaten — but they did not pay any attention to it since they thought it was just a petty quarrel among the helpers. They did not believe the scream was a sign that the Tans were being robbed, because it would be difficult for anyone to scale the eight-foot tall concrete fence.

The motive behind the attack is being investigated by police.

A motorcycle belonging to the Tans, believed to have been used by the perpetrators as a getaway bike, was recovered at the wharf.

Police have invited two carpenters, Armand Alvarez and Oscar Cabugsa, as well as Damian, for questioning. The carpenters were doing some construction work on the Tans’ property on the day of the massacre.

Zamboanga City Mayor Ma. Clara Lobregat ordered the police to dig deeper into the incident and to get the suspects behind bars at all cost.

"This is horrible. The suspects should be arrested and charged accordingly," Lobregat told reporters. With Jaime Laude, AFP

ARMAND ALVAREZ AND OSCAR CABUGSA BARANGAY LUMBANGAN BARANGAY SAN ROQUE CARLOS ESTRELLADO CLARA LOBREGAT DAMIAN FREDERICK AND CHRISTOPHER JONAS BUENAVENTURA JULIET TAN NELSON DAMIAN POLICE
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