I spent almost the whole day yesterday tuned to the internet for developments on the Trina Arteche Etong shooting case. Trina Etong is the wife of ABS-CBN news anchor Ted Failon (Teodoro Etong in real life). She allegedly attempted to commit suicide on the morning of April 15. She eventually died of a gunshot wound in the head at 8:50PM last night, April 16, inside her ICU room at the New Era Hospital in Quezon City.
I first heard the news through a live radio stream in the afternoon of April 15. A police officer from the Quezon City Police District - Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (QCPD-CIDU) has issued an erroneous report that Trina Etong was accidentally shot by her husband, Ted Failon, after an argument inside their car. This report swept Ted Failon and his family into the center of national public attention and led to probably the most horrifying 24 hours of their lives. Ted Failon would later attest that he rushed home from his morning news program at DZMM and found his bloodied wife inside the bathroom of their daughter's bedroom around 10:30AM of April 15. It is important to note that all members of the Arteche-Etong family, including the brothers and sisters of Trina Etong, believe this story and none of them is interested in pursuing a "homicide" investigation. However, the investigating officers are still looking at possible foul play in the incident and have labeled all adult members of the Etong household, including Ted Failon, as suspects.
At first, I was also one of the very many who expressed doubts on the innocence of Ted Failon. This is mainly due to the many erroneous reports issued by the police along the course of their investigation. But as more details of the incident came out, especially the statements of the Etong and Arteche families, I became more convinced that Trina Etong really committed suicide. And, I also became more convinced that our local police cannot be trusted to do their jobs right.
Last night, the attention shifted to the officers of the QCPD-CIDU after they "arrested" Pamela and Maximo Arteche for "obstruction of justice" and forcibly took them away, in handcuffs, from their sister Trina's ICU room at New Era Hospital. The siblings pleaded with the police to let them stay with their sister who was still in critical condition. The "arresting officers" did not listen and succeeded in taking Pamela and Maximo, plus two other siblings, to the QCPD Headquarters. The whole event caused a commotion at the hospital. Right after that incident, Trina Etong's blood pressure dropped and she was not successfully revived by her doctors. She died without her 4 siblings by her side. Hospital authorities would later claim that the chaos caused by the police also affected the condition of the other ICU patients confined at the hospital.
The Commission on Human Rights has already declared that they will review the "warrantless arrests" made by the QCPD police for possible human rights violations against the Arteche siblings.
Despite all that has happened, I still have hope for the Philippine justice system. I am hoping that the abusive police authorities from the QCPD-CIDU will be heavily sanctioned for committing procedural lapses in the arrests of Pamela and Maximo Arteche and the Failon family househelpers. Otherwise, I'll just hang my head in shame for having these barbarians as my countrymen, supposedly serving as "officers of the law".