The Police Must Keept Its Mouth Shut!

Mr. Ted Failon, being administered with cast to determine gunpowder residue (photo from yahoo news)

Mr. Ted Failon, being administered with cast to determine gunpowder residue (photo from yahoo news)


Trina, 45, Ted Failon’s wife is dead. Doctors  at New  Era Hospital in Quezon City pronounced her dead at 8:50 p.m. Thursday.  It is tragic but the drama that unfolds after the shooting was even more tragic.

The day that Ms. Trina was shot, police elements and media people were swarming like bees that descended upon the elegant home of the Failons in one plush subdivision in Quezon  and mistaking it  for a moment for a shrubbery of highly pollinated nectar that matches only the stature of the ABS-CBN TV-anchor, Mr. Ted Failon.

Government officials, politicians and even the  chief lawyer of a government office  mandated to aid the  “indigents” had tried to compete for the inebriating appeal of the tubes and the airwaves. In the latter case, you can ask in disbelief if Mr. Failon is an indigent.

 The effort to get into the hub of the orchard they thought rich of enervating syrup that could last them one summer had spilled over into the police precinct and hospital premises.  Not content with the initial investigation of Mr. Failon at the police precinct  after the shooting,  police operatives swarmed back at his house and had arrested his household helps and his driver, and then made one swoop at the hospital to arrest Trina’s brother.

There is nothing wrong with the effort to arrest persons the police  had suspected to be obstructing justice but these law enforcers  must do so with the least possible pomp and rudeness  in the light of the request of the Failons to respect their grief and in the case of the hospital arrest,  to be considerate over a brother’s anguished at  his sister’s fate. However, the police could care less on the sensitivity of the grieving family;  it must discharge its “duties”  regardless of the person’s stature,  may he be a TV personality of nationwide renown,  or   the quintessential “grease man“ on the street.  Does it  really want the public to believe in this?

Badgered by the media which wanted a minute-by-minute account of the ongoing investigation, the police had willingly obliged by announcing  that Mr. Failon was negative of nitrate reactant, ( no gunpowder residue found on his arms), and so was Trina.  But the police had continued to highlight its own suspicion of Mr. Failon by announcing that  the findings do not indicate that he did not fire any firearm but it would not highlight  the same observation  in the case of Trina.

If you parse the police  announcement, it is possible that Trina had fired  the gun and yet no gunpowder residue was found. The next malice was the eagerness of the police to announce that there was no “tattooing” on Trina’s skin.  Tattooing is the markings on the skin  surrounding the bullet’s entry point to indicate that the nozzle of the gun was fired about  few inches from the head to sustain the “suicide theory”, but the police did not account for the fact that the deceased was a woman with thick  bundle of  hair  that could effectively have prevented the smudging on her skin.  And the “sorry note” by the victim was not actually a “suicide note”.   You can already sense the bias in the investigation.

The police had continued entertaining the public with another angle to sustain a “foul-play” theory.  The rounding-up of the household help and the driver, (despite their lawyer’s plea for a warrant and a need of her assistance),  and  the arrest of Trina’s sister, Pamela Arteche,  was premised for their having “conspiratorially tampered with the “crime scene”.  The announcement that it was a “crime scene” is conclusionary.  It gives you an idea already that a crime was committed and the people they had arrested had tampered with the evidence of the crime.  The “suicide” theory has been downplayed.

The innocent explanation of the household was that the clean-up was made to shelter the 12 year old daughter of Trina and Ted of a possible trauma of finding blood all over the bathroom.  The clean-up of the vehicle was almost natural to even ascribe ill motive over such action.  The blood in the car was in no way determinative of who could have shot Trina and therefore no longer part of the scenario that could sustain a theory of “evidence tampering”,  but you would be amazed to note that the clean-up of the blood in the bathroom and the car were being drum-beaten as consistent acts to tamper with the evidence.

The police may entertain various theories on the tragic shooting to death of Trina  on April 15,  or it may even implicate Mr. Failon, but it must do so only after a  careful sleuthing of the bits and pieces of information and physical evidence that are logical and sensible.  It being badgered by the media to come up with some conclusion on the case does not entitle it “ to shoot from the hip”,  for one’s liberty hinges upon it,  it is horrible that the police is playing with it.

My take is that the police must continue to investigate the case until it can come up with the most  logical explanation as to who shot who. Meanwhile, it can shut  up and refrain from feeding the media with some malicious and sleazy innuendos.


6 thoughts on “The Police Must Keept Its Mouth Shut!

  1. As we await the autopsy findings scheduled to be released this morning, I hope the police did a thorough forensic job:

    Forensic science will immediately tell us that the gunshot wound was a close-range one owing to the “PERFORATING” nature of it (in contrast to a “penetrating” one where the slug is retained inside the body of the victim as seen in distant gunshot wounds).

    Burning of the hair may also denote a close-range gunfire. This is called “singeing.” Other forensic terms such as “tattooing” or “smudging” should also be considered.

    Pattern or shape of the wounds will also tell the forensic pathologist the nature of the gunshot wound. Skin abrasion will also guide him as to where the bullet entry point is. Such finding is commonly absent in the exit point.

    Internal beveling of the skull generally signify the entrance wound as opposed to external beveling of the bone in exit wounds. Obviously, there was an initial confusion on the points of entry/exit of the bullet because the victim survived and there was no way of scrutinizing the wounds during that time.

    The blood spatter and the bullet trajectory will help in the reconstruction of the incident. The reconstruction, of course, can be done even if the scene is already cleaned up.

    However, there could be exceptions to the rule on each of the findings and therefore these findings should be appreciated in a collective manner (not singly). No need to emphasize also that we should hope that the pathologist did an expert job in forensics (as I’ve heard the body of the victim will be cremated on Tuesday, April 21).


    As to the paraffin tests, what I surmised from the way the police are stating their analysis is that the negative findings on the victim may somehow exclude suicide while the negative findings on the six suspects may somehow exonerate them. (Actually, what I sense from the police pronouncements is that the negative test on TF doesn’t rule out his guilt whereas the negative test on Trina supported their assumption of a foul play. See how a double standard come into play?)

    Now, who fired the gun? This baffles them and this dilemma probably was conveyed to the public (one reporter even posed a scenario of an unknown assailant).

    The police are now telling us that they will pursue the gunshot residue (GSR) analysis but this time on the shirt of TF (already with the police) and the clothes of the victim (which, btw, is still “at large;” was it pilfered at New Era Hospital? Now, that’s satirical theorizing.).
    (Here’s again hoping that they have sophisticated means to determine GSR on clothing.)

    Well, they all have the right to check on the GSR but what is not emphasized here is that a paraffin test as a form of GSR determination is in reality UNRELIABLE (therefore inconclusive) that even the SCORP has ruled on the matter. I think the value of the paraffin test (which, incidentally, has to be done immediately after the incident) is only when the result is POSITIVE and is used as a corroborative evidence.

    For example, an eyewitness positively identified the gunman and the gunman was thought to have recently fired a gun because of a positive paraffin test. The positive test bolsters the prosecution case in this scenario. A negative paraffin test will not be used by the prosecution but certainly the defense will employ it to his advantage. However, the SCORP already made a ruling (several times) that a negative paraffin test cannot be used to exonerate the accused.

    (Ref: G.R. No. 155023, G.R. No. 130963, G.R. No. 79039-41, G.R. No. 148699, etc.)


    A welcome development on TF’s side is that the angle of suicide is now the main consideration of the police…although the “obstruction of justice” case on them will still be pursued. Again, baffling? I won’t dare to speculate.

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