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Ted Failons Case: Suicide or Homicide?

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THE wife of ABS-CBN news anchor Teodoro “Ted” Failon was rushed to New Era General Hospital last April 15 afternoon and was “fighting for her life,” due to a gunshot wound in the head, as reported by its network and GMA 7.

In a statement sent earlier by his home network ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp., Failon did not complete his program over dzMM radio Wednesday morning after speaking with his wife on the phone.

According to Failon, “I immediately went home and saw that the bathroom door was locked. I had the door opened and I found my wife bloodied, so I rushed her to the hospital,” he said.

ABS-CBN reported that Trinidad left a note of apology in the master’s bedroom.

“Papa, Im so so sorry gustong gusto ko pong magsabi sa yo ng totoo, pero hindi ko po alam kung papaano ko uumpisahan.

Sobrang takot na takot po ako. Umalis po muna ako. Kasi hindi ko po kayang at nahihiya po ako sayo humarap.

Sana po mapatawad mo ako papa. Sorry, sorry Papa


[I want to tell the truth but I don’t know how to start. I was afraid that is why I left]…

The Quezon City Police said they would not treat the victim’s alleged letter as a suicide note, noting inconsistencies in Failon’s statements.

The Witnesses

Based on Inquirer, initial investigation showed that Trinidad Etong was taken to the hospital by her sister Pamela, the family driver identified only as Glen, and another man believed to be Failon.

This was how a resident physician described the turn of events:

Upon arrival and after begging doctors and nurses to immediately attend to his wife, Failon asked everyone in the ER not to allow reporters or police personnel to enter the hospital premises: “No media, no police, please, nakikiusap ako.”

While attending to the patient, the ER staff asked what were considered standard questions, but Failon refused to answer even the most basic: What happened? How did the patient get the gunshot wound?

He remained silent, was in tears and visibly very worried. The only information he gave the hospital, verbally and in writing on the official hospital form for patients, was the patient’s name, Trinidad Etong, and her age, 45. He managed to tearfully tell the ER staff that the patient was his wife and a nurse: “Asawa daw niya, nurse daw, iyak nang iyak.”

A witness told the Inquirer that he saw Failon leaving the ER in a bloody polo shirt and wearing a surgical mask, apparently to avoid identification by policemen and reporters waiting outside, and boarding a blue Pajero at around 1 p.m.

Another witness, a gardener of Failon’s neighbor told the Inquirer that before noon, he saw the broadcaster in a bloody shirt about to board the Pajero in his garage with another woman who was weeping. But he did not see Failon’s wife. The gardener also said he did not hear gunshots coming from Failon’s house with glass windows.

Police investigators were only able to interview witnesses in the hospital and to get Failon’s address at around 4 p.m., or more than five hours later, because hospital personnel did not immediately allow interviews with the witnesses.

Hospital personnel also barred reporters from entering the premises and refused to issue a statement.

Sources said ABS-CBN had ordered a news blackout for several hours upon Failon’s request.

The Investigation

According to investigators, they were very dismayed when they found out the crime scene – the house and the car – were already cleaned.

This developed as the police contemplates to file charges of obstruction of justice against the driver of Failon and the three house help who cleaned the area where Trinidad was found.

Although Failon is tested negative for gunpowder burns, investigators said this does not mean he is already absolved from the case as they are not still considering the findings as conclusive.

“He is not off the hook. Paraffin test is not conclusive. We have to continue the investigation and would file charges against Failon if evidence warrants,” Chief Supt. Roberto Rosales said.

The Passing of the Victim

Trinidad Arteche Etong, the wife of news anchor Ted Failon, passed away, about 20 minutes after doctors tried to revive her, radio dzMM’s vice president for Manila division Peter Musngi reported Thursday night.

Etong was brought to the New Era General Hospital in Quezon City at about 11 a.m., Wednesday. She stayed at the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit and died there minutes before 9 p.m., Thursday.

Report said that the doctors and nurses were trying to revive Trinidad whose blood pressure had continued dropping minutes before she died. New Era’s Dr. Adonis Gascon, a neurosurgeon, said Etong was pronounced dead at 8:50 p.m.

“The immediate cause of death is penetrating cranial missile injury and then disseminated intravascular coagulation, and subsequent multi-organ failure,” Gascon told radio dzBB.

The Question

What do you think, is it a suicide or a homicide?


One Response

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  1. I am sure forensic will bring the truth, they always do


    June 16, 2009 at 7:00 am

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