The daughter of my mother's second cousin was brutally murdered. The perpetrator, her own husband.
She was 46. She was hacked to death, stabbed from head to toe by the very same person who brought her in front of the altar more than 10 years ago. The very same man who swore, in front of God and His people, to love her, protect her until his last breath. Only, he took that last breath of her with his own hands, armed by a sharp blade and a drug that took over his soul.
Her lifeless body was found in her own bed. After killing his wife, he tried escaping and went to the bus station in Cubao. But he told the police investigator he was bothered by his conscience. So he called his father-in-law and informed him of his crime.
"Puntahan ninyo 'yung anak ninyo sa kwarto namin. Pinatay ko," he said. (I killed your daughter. Go find her in our room.)
So the father went to his daughter's house, and there he found her daughter's lifeless body lying in her own bed. He burst into tears, shouting curses, calling for his daughter's name again and again. He held her bloodied body, but when he tried lifting her, parts of the body almost collapsed, adding to the horror of the scene. The head dangled from the neck, threatening to detach itself.
So he wrapped the body with a blanket, still calling for her name. He called his wife to inform her of what happened, and the rest became a blurry memory.
A few hours after, her children of 10 and 8 will be found standing in front of her coffin. The older one would be heard saying, "mommy, tayo ka na diyan, gutom na ko." (Mommy, please get up. I'm hungry.) The kid's pleadings will forever remain unanswered.
Their father, the suspect, told many excuses during interrogation. He said he found her wife wrapped around another man's arms. He said jealousy drove her to commit such crime.
But the neighbors told a different story. They said she was a battered wife. Often, they heard shoutings; the husband, threatening. All of these were unknown to her parents. They said she was always a quiet girl, always smiling, encouraging.
The suspect is now under custody of authorities. But not for long. Soon he will face immediate judgment. I heard it's already being arranged for our family doesn't take this matter lightly. I've known this dark side of the family since I was a kid, a truth that forever I shall carry, a strange thing that always brings me into deep contemplation.
As I stared closely to those two kids standing in front of their mother's grave, as the dark clouds slowly emerged from the horizon, I remembered a familiar quote from this book I'm reading: "each of us is guilty before all and for all." I still don't know exactly what it means, but somehow, I know this is one of those moments Fyodor Dostoevsky was thinking.
It was a murder of its own kind, but one that is not unheard of. It was one of those stories that I'm used to because of my job as a journalist. Only this time, it was something born, not out of interviews and police reports, but from the very core of my existence, a hint of blood throbbing in my veins connected to the very same blood that flowed generously on that fateful day that brought us here.